Island biogeography and coral reef patches by Ali and Taylor
The Theory of Island Biogeography was developed by ecologists Robert MacArthur and E.O Wilson in the 1960s. It examines how the rate immigration and extinction influence the species richness on an island community. The theory predicts that the rate of immigration fluctuates depending on the how close the island is to other land forms. The closer the island is to the main land, the higher the species richness will be. The theory also predicts that the rate of extinction fluctuates depending on the size of the island. The larger the island is, the higher the species richness will be. In this experiment, the Theory of Island Biogeography was applied to coral reef patches. 12 coral patches were marked and observed, divided into the categories of close and far from the coral ridge “mainland”, as well as small or large based on their surface area. The circumference, height, and rugosity as well as each patches distance from the coral ridge were measured. Each patch was photographed and observed to determine the biodiversity of their algae, sponges and corals. No relationship was found between the sizes of a coral patch, and its biodiversity. There was also no relationship found between the distance a coral patch is from the reef crest, and the biodiversity of the patch. This shows that coral patches do not seem to follow the Theory of Island Biogeography. One reason for this could be that the distances between the coral ridge and the patches were not large enough. Longer term studies will be needed to properly determine the accuracy of this theory.
The richness of coral reefs.