Project abstract: Comparison of community composition and invertebrate biodiversity in a sheltered mangrove and the back reef of Discovery Bay

Melissa_margaret_sumo_mar388 project pic

Mazzocco, Margaret Ptak, & Sumantro Ray


environmental factors affect the differences in the physical
characteristics of the mangroves and back reef of Discovery Bay,
Jamaica. These differences may be responsible for causing variations
in the number and types of organisms which inhabit them. Measurements
were taken of salinity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature in the back
reef and in a mangrove area where groundwater seeps were known to be
present. Random quadrats were photographed in each area and epiphyte
species within the quadrats were identified and quantified as percent
composition of the total surface area. Fish and invertebrate species
were identified and counts were taken of invertebrate individuals
present in 84ft
in each habitat. Total species richness and invertebrate abundance
was found to be significantly higher in the coral reef patch than in
the mangrove. Invertebrate and plant diversity were also found to be
somewhat higher in the back reef than in the mangrove. Vertebrate
composition and diversity was not found to differ significantly
between the two areas.

Postscript: A change in latitude, a change in attitude


Another Tropical Marine Ecology has come to an end. We have all arrived home and packed away our swimsuits. Unfortunately, we have had to replace our shorts and flip flops for winter jackets and boots. Although another semester has already begun, I have been drawn back to Jamaica on several occasions this past week. Every year I'm curious to see how the collection of students from diverse backgrounds will meld into a class. This year, we had the largest number of students to participate in the course. I was worried that this may result in the formation of cliques or that our two non-Stony Brook students would feel ostracized by the others. Gratefully, that did not occur. [Ed: although the two professors did ostracize each other …]

It was difficult to point out who was a marine science major or not or who was coming from which campus. I enjoyed watching the flurry of students changing their seats on the return flight so that they could sit together and share the last hours together. [Ed: and serenade Prof. Peterson for most of the flight]  This year we had eleven independent research projects. The topics ranged from a field study of the aggressive behavior of damsel fish when their territory is invaded to a lab experiment assessing the changes in sponge filtration when suntan lotion is present in the water. We will post all of the student project's abstracts soon [ ~ Feb 15] so stay tuned. The great joy of this course is seeing the students conduct their own research project and develop it from an idea to a final product with all of the problems, mistakes and ingenuity in between. I hope that the students will remember Jamaica and MAR388 with fond memories.

Prof. Peterson [Ed: and Warren]