RAMIFICATION PATTERNS OF THE THREATENED CORAL ACROPORA CERVICORNIS: IMPLICATIONS FOR RESTORATION ACTIVITIES
Acropora cervicornis is a threatened Caribbean coral that depends greatly on branch fragmentation to proliferate. Thus, understanding the patterns of branch formation is essential for the development of management and conservation initiatives. Studies directed at describing the branching dynamics of A. cervicornis are nonetheless, scarce. In this study, we examined the patterns of branch morphogenesis in 100 colony fragments that were transplanted to two reefs with different light regimes. Five morphometric variables (e.g. location of branch formation) were measured for one year. Branching complexity was evaluated by means of two indices: the Horton-Strahler bifurcation ratio (Rb) and the Carrillo-Mendoza branching index (CM-BI). We also constructed a simple discrete model that estimates the number of harvestable branches and contrasted the model's prediction with the observed branching dynamics. In general, we found that 1) growth and branching rates were higher at the site with the lowest light intensities, 2) the CM-BI was more appropriate than the Rb to describe the branching structure of A. cervicornis, and 3) the number of branches formed during the study was accurately predicted by the simple mathematical model. We will discuss how our results can be used to guide management and conservation plans focused on this key species.
Mercado-Molina, A. E., Sociedad Ambiente Marino, Puerto Rico, email@example.com
Ruiz-Diaz, C. P., Sociedad Ambiente Marino, Puerto Rico, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabat, A. M., University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, email@example.com
Location: 301 B
Presentation is given by student: No