Data was collected by Benjamin Greenstein in 1994, 95’ and 96’ at the Aquarius Underwater Research Center in the hopes of determining whether there had been any significant changes in the composition of the reef from 1994 to 1996. Data collection was also completed in the hopes of providing a framework for the ongoing studies of taphonomic processes occurring in the coral reef environment. This data has subsequently been manipulated by means of a database program and ArcView GIS to begin the process of answering some question about the composition of the reefs surrounding the Aquarius. The questions posed in this research are 1) has there been a change in the percent coverage of coral from 1994 to 1996, 2) has there been a change in the community composition of the reef from 94’ to 96’, and 3) is there a orientation preference exhibited by either the live or dead coral subset. Research has shown that there is no change in the percent cover!
age of coral but that there are small-scale changes in the community composition from 1994 to 1996. Research also indicates that there is no orientation preference between live and dead coral but rather all coral show a strong preference to the upright (0-degree) orientation. Manipulation of the data collected at the Aquarius will continue. Questions that hopefully will be answered in future work deal with percent coverage, community composition, and orientation between shallow and deep-water sites from 1994 through 1996.
Adam Benton, ’01 Iowa City, IA
Major: Geology and Environmental Studies
Sponsor: Ben Greenstein