Project abstract: Coral disease and wave action

Rachel_megan_Project photo

Megan Bednarz and Rachel Morrison


The prominence of diseased coral, or
lack of large and healthy corals, is notable when snorkeling around
Discovery Bay, Jamaica. The purpose of this study was to take a
closer look at the relationship between the distribution of diseased
coral and the wave action at six sites in the bay. Our study was
narrowed to a select few physical factors including wave action and
turbidity in the sea grass, mangroves, boat channel, jetty, back reef
and reef crest. A survey of twenty corals at each site was completed
to quantify the presence of disease. Three sets of clod cards were
placed at each site, at two depths, for twenty-four hours to
determine a percent loss due to water dissolving Plaster of Paris
cubes.  In an area with maximum wave action, like the reef
crest, abundance and diversity will be negatively impacted. In an
area with low wave action, like the sea grass, there will be an
increase in sedimentation, which will also negatively impact corals.
 Other factors like depth, light, and salinity and anthropogenic
forces were not measured but contribute to the presence and spread of
disease. There was no direct correlation between a specific disease
and wave action.

Project abstract: Sponge Reattachment on Different Substrates

Allegra_sarah_s_coral sponge

Waters and Sarah


are vital to the marine system because they can attach and grow on
just about anything allowing for niche specialization among
organisms. The objective of this study was to observe the
reattachment rates of different species of sponges on different
compressa, Aplysina fistularis
Iotrochota birotulata
were all placed on rock, sand, coral, and garbage. Each species was
cut up into three different sizes; 1cm, 5cm, 10cm. The attachment
rate depending on size was also tested. Each sponge was gently poked
after given 48 hours to attach. This process was repeated for 6 days
giving the sponge’s ample time to attach. The 10cm fragments
attached best in all three species of sponge.
had the overall
best attachment but
had the most
attach first. This data means
would be the
most successful in the ocean. Because of the constant disturbance of
wave action the shorter the time the sponge takes to attach the more
successful it would be in a real life situation.

Project abstract: Effects of the feeding habits of Aplysia dactylomela resultant from changes in photoperiods and thermal variation


Hadler and Jason Kahen


habits of the
Aplysia dactylomela
were observed under varied conditions of light and temperature. The
A. dactylomela were
subjected to twenty-hour hour cycles of complete darkness, light and
a 2° C increase in the water temperature. Statistical analysis of
the data was unable to be preformed due to faulty data collection and
test methods. The raw data appears to indicate that there is no
significant difference in the herbivory rates when the light or
temperature is changed. The total amounts eaten the control and the
experimental groups were within one percent of each other for the
dark treatment and within five percent of each other for the light
treatment. The heat treatment had vastly different results for both
the control and experimental compared to the other two tests and
should be discounted because of this.
experiments provided general observations about the feeding behavior
A. dactylomela though
and a lesson in laboratory procedures.

Project abstract: Algal Feeding Preferences and Grazing Patterns of Diadema antillarum Under Varying Light/Dark Cycles

Ian_debbie_drying algae

Deborah Aller and Ian


As one of the biggest providers of
environmental complexity in tropical marine ecosystems, it is crucial
that researchers continue to compile as much information as possible
about coral reefs and their high fragility, diversity, and
productivity. One of the biggest staples in the study of reefs and
their conservation is the balance between spatial partitioning
between algae and corals and the constant competition for limiting
resources, such as light. Since algae tends to grow and spread much
faster than reef building corals, herbivory by sea urchins,
specifically Diadema antillarum, is essential for maintaining
coral colonies and thus an array of environmental complexity. The
current study examines how D. antillarum grazing patterns are
affected by varying light/dark cycles as well as algal feeding
preferences of D. antillarum. Twelve D. antillarum were
divided in to groups of four and placed in three separate tanks which
received varying amount of light. Additionally each tank received
three different algal genera for grazing in equal amounts. Algal
samples were weighed and information was compiled to determine which
light treatment caused the urchins to graze more as well as which
algal genera was preferred by the urchins for grazing. It was found
that there was no significant difference in mean algal percent mass
consumption between the groups under differing light/dark cycles.
Similarly it was also found that the D. antillarum used for
this study had no feeding preferences based on the three algal genera
provided to them; Dictyota sp., Enteromorpha sp., and
Wrightiella blodgettii. Possible factors that may have
contributed to the gathering of skewed data which lead to
insignificant results could include but are not limited to a lack of
acclimation of the urchins to the testing tanks that were used, the
use of unfamiliar algal genera that are not normally a part of the D.
diet, and a natural homing behavior of sea urchins.
Because of limited supplies and time, further investigation is then
called for and more research is needed to solidify more concretely
the findings of this study.

Project abstract: Behavioral response of O. echinata and O. reticulate to chemical compounds


Jean Tremmel

My experiment was conducted to see
if brittle stars, because they posses chemoreceptor’s would be able
to detect sunscreen SPF 30 in water and remove themselves from the
affected area. I had mixed results with this experiment. There are
a lot of different aspects that come into play and I did a large
amount of research to determine the reason for my results. Sunscreen
has been shown to cause coral bleaching and I thought it would be a
great research project to see if the sunscreen would have an effect
on brittle stars.

Project abstract: Porcelain Crab Territoriality in Anemones

Josh_max_Porcelain Crab Archetype

Kammerman and Josh Kaufman

There are numerous factors, both intraspecie (sex, juvenility) and
environmental (host availability), influencing the territoriality of
the porcelain crab species Petrolisthes armatus when utilizing
the anemone Condylactus gigantea as a host. Understanding the
influence of these variables on the lifestyle and behavior of
Petrolisthes armatus gives an insight into this particular
symbiotic relationship. We examined the effect that sex, juvenility,
and host anemone abundance had on porcelain crab behavior and
territoriality. The sex and juvenility tests were performed in a
controlled “wet lab” setting. The host sharing tests were
performed in and around the lagoon of Discovery Bay, Jamaica. We
found that territoriality behavior acts independently of sex, that
juvenility can affect ‘host sharing,’ and that low host abundance
positively correlates with increased territoriality.

Project abstract: Observational study of root assemblage interactions


Kayla Kraker and Nicole Laible


observational study of root assemblage interactions was conducted in
forests of
Discovery Bay Marine Lab, Jamaica. Symbiotic relationships in
accordance to varying root structures, were monitored to denote the
changes in species interactions. Two sites were chosen within the
lagoon area of the property, where there were regions that had
increased groundwater seepage. This allowed for physical parameters
to be documented at each site. The sites were labeled according to
salinity level, the Groundwater Input site and the Non-Groundwater
Input site, where each site had two sections to study with different
light penetration levels. Four roots were chosen at random per
section. Root measurements were done for root circumference, length,
and distance between each tagged root. Observations were done for ten
minutes daily during high tide to note the percentage algae cover,
species richness, species diversity, and species interactions.
Physical parameters were measured for the last four days of the
experiment at each site using the YSI. Several equations were used
to determine results: the Bran-Branquet method to find the percentage
algae cover on attached roots versus suspended roots, the Nearest
Neighbor method measuing the root distribution, which was
characterized by propagule distribution. Lastly, Simpsons Diversity
Index to find the species diversity per section at each root.
Overall, results showed that different mutualistic relationships
occur between species and varying root assemblages. In the different
sites, there was a difference in species richness, diversity, and
percentage algae cover for each root.

Project abstract: The Effect of Sunscreen on Marine Sponge Filtration Rates

Melanie sponge experiment



Flow rates of the
marine sponge species
measured to determine if the presence of sunscreen in seawater has an
effect on sponge filtration rates.

specimens were collected from the coral reef at Discovery Bay,
Jamaica. The specimens were placed in separate tanks with continuous
water flow. Sunscreens with varying sun protection factors (SPF) 30,
50 and 85 were then added to the tanks. Each specimen had a
designated SPF that was tested. Flow rate measurements were taken
every 20 minutes for a period of one hour of the sunscreen
application, and every hour for three hours thereafter. The effects
of sunscreen on the flow rates of each individual sponge proved to be
inconclusive. However, the sponge treated with SPF 85 displayed a
relatively lower flow rate compared to the specimens treated with the
lower SPFs.

Project abstract: The Feeding Preferences of Tripneustes ventricosus


Lawrence Chong and Nicholas DaCosta


, which is commonly grazed by
Tripneustes ventricosus,
is located throughout the Caribbean. Discovery Bay, Jamaica is home
to nitrogen-enriched
while in other areas of the
Caribbean the
Thalassia testudinum
is not nitrogen-enriched. The main focus of this experiment was to
see whether or not
would prefer to consume the
nutrient rich
Thalassia testudinum
found in the lagoon of Discovery Bay over the
found outside the lagoon.
Tripneustes ventricosus
were collected for this experiment as well as
from inside and outside the
lagoon of Discovery Bay and were put into artificial environments
designed to test their preferences.
After 3
trials, with trials 2 and 3 having a no-light factor, our data
indicated that
Tripneustes ventricosus
does have a preference over their food consumption and that is they
would prefer to
consume nutrient rich Thalassia testudinum.

Project abstract: Aggressiveness of Stegastes Adustus as Observed in Discovery Bay, Jamaica


Drucker and Yelizaveta Kotlyarova


experiment was performed on Discovery Bay coral reef, to determine
the aggressive tendencies of the damselfish
. A natural
setting behavior was observed and studied in four locations: within
the mangroves in an area with more algal cover and an area with less
algal cover, and within the jetty on the leeward and windward sides.
On an aggression scale from 1 to 5,
exhibited on
average an aggression level of 4 marked by chasing. The damselfish
more notably chased away other damselfish that shared their area.
also chased away in the jetty leeward location where they were found
sharing the habitats of the damselfish. In the mangrove area where
algae was more scarce and damselfish numbers were high
were most
S. adustus
were least aggressive in the jetty windward area with the least
population of damselfish and the lowest species variation, although
algae cover was low. It is suggested that
are a strongly
aggressive fish and food supply and population count affect this
level of aggression.