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Free Content Reef-Coral Dispersion Patterns and Environmental Variables on a Caribbean Coral Reef

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Dispersion patterns for a portion of the hermatypic coral fauna on the Holandes Cay, Panama, lagoon reef were studied. Data were collected from a series of random quadrats located along random transects and analyzed by variance-to-mean ratios. Most species (10 out of 12) were found to display aggregated distributions on a 10 m2 scale within at least one of the three depth strata established. Concordance analysis showed that the aggregated species in general were clumped in the same positions on the reef.

Temperature, salinity, oxygen, and irradiance on and near the reef were monitored. The effects of these parameters as well as water movements, sedimentation, competitive interactions, and contagious larval settling are briefly discussed. Irregularities in reef surface topography, creating microhabitat differences, are judged to exert the strongest influence on the observed spatial distributions. Potential ecological consequences of these aggregated distributions include possible effects on population dynamics, competitive equilibrium, and sensitivity to environmental perturbation.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1976-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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