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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Habitat and Bleaching in the Foraminiferan Peneroplis Pertusus


The effects of human activities on the earth’s environment have gained increasing attention in recent years. With coral reefs declining worldwide, efficient tools for assessing reef health are more important than ever. The species of larger foraminifera known as Peneroplis pertusus share key characteristics with reef building corals. By examining the populations’ natural distribution along with the abiotic factors affecting bleaching, a better understanding of reef systems as a whole is achieved. In this study, P. pertusus was collected from ten different sites on a fringing reef in Moorea, French Polynesia. Collected from coral rubble at one, two, and three meters depths, they were analyzed for abundance, size, and extent of bleaching. Light experiments were used in the laboratory to determine response to increased solar radiation. One-way statistical analysis, along with the Wilcoxon test found no strong correlation between depth and percent bleaching. A difference between individual size and percent bleaching was found and a natural population dynamics are presumed to occur n Moorea. Light experiments found increased bleaching in P. pertusus showing increased solar radiation to be a factor in bleaching.

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