, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 124-131

An appraisal of methods used in coral recruitment studies

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Abstract

 A new method for attaching individual artificial settlement plates directly to the reef surface using small stainless steel base plates is described. Recruitment of corals to settlement plates attached to the reef substratum and to steel mesh racks is compared. The effects of differences in depth, settlement plate angle, and local topography on recruitment of corals were also investigated. No significant difference in mean recruit density was found between settlement plates deployed using the two attachment methods. Small differences in depth and plate angle among replicate plates explained less than 6% of the variability in coral recruitment on replicate settlement plates. The direct-attachment method is less obtrusive, more cost and time efficient, and settlement plates can be deployed at precise locations. Additionally, because settlement plates are deployed individually rather than grouped on racks or frames, the direct-attachment method avoids complications associated with assumptions of independence implicit in most statistical procedures.

Accepted: 24 November 1999