My mentor, Dr. Brandt, and I utilized the field techniques I learned in Hawai`i to gather coral community structure data and compare it to data collected 30 years prior at the same sites. In this project, I learned about statistical analysis and was responsible for performing all statistical tests. Our analyses indicate a significant loss of coral cover and rugosity at all sites surveyed between 1982 and 2012.
These results suggest a gradual decline in coral health over the last 30 years and differed from the drastic declines seen at CIMR. However, within Brewers Bay, one site had significantly less coral cover than the others, both in 1982 and 2012. This disparity sparked my interest in oceanography and I hypothesized that it may have been related to water quality or current flow between the sites.