The Effects that Surrounding Hard Structures have on Biodiversity and Abundance Found in Turtlegrass (Thalassium testudinum) Patches
Hamm, T., Le.S, and Miller, P.
For our project, we decided to see how structures may influence the communities in the surrounding turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum) meadows. This was done by comparing two turtlegrass patches; one relativately close to significant structures, and one approximately 50 meters away. Structures include, mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), and dead coral reefs. Over the course of five days, five samples of turtle grass was taken daily at each site. We also sampled the populations of epibenthic invertebrates and fish using five meter transects, twenty-five meters per site per day. The seagrass samples were analyzed to determine the number of leaves, number of bite marks, and epiphytic algal coverage per square meter and meter of seagrass surface area. The density of bite marks and epiphytic algal coverage was used as a proxy for (determining a level) of herbivory at each site. Average abundances of individual species were compared between the two sites, as well as the Shannon-Wiener index, the Simpson index, and a dominance curve, in order to compare the diversity and abundance of species at each site.
Peter diving to conduct a bottom survey.