Ecological Succession in Pleistocene Coral Reefs: The role of variation in disturbance history.

I am presently examining reef coral community structure of successional sequences exposed in Late Pleistocene strata on Curaçao (Netherlands Antilles). These data will be compared to those I have collected from Great Inagua and San Salvador Islands, Bahamas. Late Pleistocene reefs in these regions flourished under very different regimes of disturbance by hurricanes. I am hoping to assess the role of disturbance frequency in producing the ecologic succession preserved in each region. Additional projects undertaken by research students include using epibionts to investigate modes of reef accumulation on Curaçao and a comparative study of modern reef coral communities within and outside of the Curaçao Underwater Park and those preserved in Late Pleistocene strata. The latter project seeks to use the Pleistocene reef communities as "ecological baselines" that may be used to assess the efficacy of the underwater park.

 

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