DRAFT 1 Coral Paper - Some Factors That Affect Coral...

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Some Factors That Affect Coral Diversity In Hawaii Madonna Culver Dr. David Field April 28, 2009 Ecology Lab
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Introduction: Coral reefs are found in tropical waters, along the shores of continents, and islands. Hawaiian waters harbor 42 reef building species of corals from 16 genera (Grigg 1983). They live in nutrient poor environments and can only tolerate a specific range of pH and temperature in the water. There are several factors that affect the distributions of Hawaiian coral species. These factors include both natural phenomenon like wave action, competitive hierarchies and human factors, like pollution and degradation. Many literature have done studies on the different factors that affects coral reef development and it’s biodiversity. Factors which affect coral diversity are examined here by comparing coral coverage and diversity at two different sites. One area was with a lot of wave activity and the other with terrestrial runoff. S.J. Dollar, 1981 argued that wave action can be an important factor that determines diversity of Hawaiian coral reef. He suggested that wave stress has different influences on diversity. The varying physical characteristic of Hawaiian reef shows a great example how stability affects coral community structure (Dollar, 1981 ) . Fabricius (2005) discussed the direct affect of terrestrial run off on reproduction, growth and survival of corals. She argued that the growth and distribution of corals are being affected by anthropoligical factors. She outlined the effect of terrestrial runoff on habitat and suitability for settlement, and concluded that there are many potential effects on abundance, especially on hard corals (Fabricius, 2005). Grigg and Maragos (1974) suggested that coral community succession is based on the aged of volcanic flow and the pattern of recolonization. They stated that diversity
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decreases overtime due to space limitation and competitive exclusion of the dominant species. In the case of the class experiment, both site were of the same age as far as lava flow. The two study sites were both along Northeastern side of the island of Oahu. The first site was in Lanikai. The beach is surrounded by residential area, and the second study site was only a few miles from Lanikai. Makai Pier is also subject to tourist activity, but not as much as Lanikai. Lanikai is heavily developed area, and gets few attentions from tourist. Snorkeling is the famous activity in this area since the fringing reef protects the shore from excess wave action. It is however very well exposed to water runoff from the community. The second study site was in town of Waimanalo, few miles from Lanikai. Makai Pier is also subject to human activity like a regular scuba tour spot but not situated around a well developed area. Makai Pier is subject to much more wave action than Lanikai, the transect areas we explored are a little deeper that Lanikai beach. During the study, we encountered limited number of species of coral; some are the
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DRAFT 1 Coral Paper - Some Factors That Affect Coral...

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