Megan Bednarz and Rachel Morrison
The prominence of diseased coral, or lack of large and healthy corals, is notable when snorkeling around Discovery Bay, Jamaica. The purpose of this study was to take a closer look at the relationship between the distribution of diseased coral and the wave action at six sites in the bay. Our study was narrowed to a select few physical factors including wave action and turbidity in the sea grass, mangroves, boat channel, jetty, back reef and reef crest. A survey of twenty corals at each site was completed to quantify the presence of disease. Three sets of clod cards were placed at each site, at two depths, for twenty-four hours to determine a percent loss due to water dissolving Plaster of Paris cubes. In an area with maximum wave action, like the reef crest, abundance and diversity will be negatively impacted. In an area with low wave action, like the sea grass, there will be an increase in sedimentation, which will also negatively impact corals. Other factors like depth, light, and salinity and anthropogenic forces were not measured but contribute to the presence and spread of disease. There was no direct correlation between a specific disease and wave action.