To better understand the ecological interactions of coral reefs, it is important to understand the mechanisms that control the distribution and abundance of reef-building corals as well as the mechanisms that control the diversity and abundance of the fish community that inhabits these reef habitats. The purpose of this study was to identify specific coral-fish interactions among the reefs of Grand Cayman in order to gain insight into the biological effects of fish on the assemblage of hard corals. Using data collected by the Lawrence University Marine Program (LUMP), a number of exploratory statistical analyses were run in order to determine overall spatial and temporal patterns occurring on the various reefs surveyed at Grand Cayman. Correlation statistics were then used to identify individual species involved in coral-fish interactions. The results indicate that there is a strong temporal pattern amongst the reef reef and distinct spatial trends amongst the hard corals based on wave-exposure. In addition,sixty-seven statistically significant correlations were found amongst individual coral and fish species. Overall, the findings of this study provide a strong foundation for further research on the driving mechanisms of the coral and fish communities.
Level of Honors
magna cum laude
Bart De Stasio
Davis, Eileen Shea, "Coral-Fish Dynamics and Interactions: A Case Study of Grand Cayman" (2014). Lawrence University Honors Projects. 61.
Behavior and Ethology Commons, Biodiversity Commons, Biology Commons, Marine Biology Commons, Other Animal Sciences Commons, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Commons, Population Biology Commons, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology Commons, Zoology Commons