Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

William Anderson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Leonard Scinto

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Jennifer Rehage

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Stable Isotope Analysis, Coral reef studies, Human pollution

Date of Defense



Southeast Florida’s continual urban expansion will potentially increase anthropogenic pollution in adjacent coastal marine systems. Furthermore, increased nutrient loads could have detrimental effects on the already threatened Florida Reef Tract. The present study uses a stable isotopic approach to determine the sources and the impact of nutrients on the Florida Reef Tract. δ13C and δ15N analysis of macroalgae, sponges, and sediment were analyzed in order to determine nutrient inputs in this region. While δ13C data did not display any significant trends spatially, δ15N values of the majority of biota exhibited a strong East to West gradient with more enriched values close to shore. Relative enrichment in δ15N values were measured for sediments sampled along the Florida Reef Tract in comparison to a pristine Marquesas Keys sediment core. The δ15N data also implies that shoreline anthropogenic nutrients have more nutrient loading implications on reefs than major point sources.





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