Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Population Genetics and Algal Symbiont Communities of the Coral Species Montastraea cavernosa on the Belize Barrier Reef
by Eckert, Ryan J., M.S., Florida Atlantic University, 2019, 121; 22589653
Abstract (Summary)

Coral reefs worldwide are experiencing unprecedented and rapid declines. However, deeper, mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; 30–150 m) may act as refuges for coral species, providing larvae to recolonize degraded shallow reefs. This study assessed the genetic connectivity of shallow and mesophotic Montastraea cavernosa populations on the Belize Barrier Reef and the community structure of their endosymbiotic algae (Family Symbiodiniaceae) across a fine-scale depth gradient (10, 16, 25, 35 m). Evaluation of nine polymorphic microsatellite markers demonstrated that relatively shallow (10 and 16 m) M. cavernosa populations were genetically distinct from relatively deep (25 and 35 m) populations. High throughput sequencing of ribosomal coding DNA from Symbiodiniaceae communities of M. cavernosa revealed differences in community structure across depth, with shallow-specialist and depth-generalist community profiles. This research provides important information for the management of distinct deep and adds to the body of research on the understudied MCEs of the Mesoamerican Reef.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Voss, Joshua D.
Commitee: Dickens, Nicholas, Hughes, Colin
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 81/3(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Biology, Ecology, Molecular biology
Keywords: Genetic connectivity, Mesophotic coral ecosystems, Montastraea cavernosa, Population genetics, Symbiodiniaceae, Symbiosis
Publication Number: 22589653
ISBN: 9781088375655
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