Browsing Electronic Theses (Proquest) by Title "Assessing ecophysiological traits of Swiftia exserta and Muricea pendula to assist in laboratory-based propagation"
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- ItemAssessing ecophysiological traits of Swiftia exserta and Muricea pendula to assist in laboratory-based propagationLange, KassidyThe Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill caused injury that spanned from shallow to deep ecosystems in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico in 2010. In the mesophotic zone (30–150 m), many gorgonian octocorals that provided structural complexity to the reefs experienced high rates of injury. The impacts of the DWH necessitated the question of whether two commonly observed and injured taxa— Swiftia exserta and Muricea pendula— are suitable for laboratory-based propagation and outplanting as a part of restoration of damaged reefs. Field data collection efforts and laboratory-based experiments assessed: (a) the effect of fragmentation size on growth and health; (b) coral thermal tolerance; and (c) coral photobiology. The photogrammetry study concluded there was no significant difference in growth between three fragment size classes for both Swiftia and Muricea (Swiftia p=0.156, Muricea p=0.393), however Swiftia grew significantly faster (p=0.013). Fragment size had no adverse effects on health in either species when taken from a healthy colony. Using a CTD equipped with a PAR sensor, the 1% surface irradiance was calculated to be 53.48 m (K0=-0.086) and the temperature ranged from 18°–28°C seasonally. Both species were examined for the presence of photosymbionts. Swiftia had low mean (± SE) total quantum yield values (0.28 ± 0.03) and histological analyses plus chlorophyll autofluorescence revealed scattered Symbiodinumaceae structures within the epithelial tissues of the polyps. Respirometry and polyp activity data was used to assess thermal performance across 18°–26℃. There was no significant difference in oxygen consumption rate among the three temperature regimes of 18℃, 22℃, and 26℃ (p= 0.267 for Swiftia; p =0.290 for Muricea), but there was a negative correlation between temperature and polyp activity for Muricea (R=-0.56, p=0.021). The various studies provide substantial information to guide the laboratory-based propagation of Swiftia and Muricea.