Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean, Coastal, and Earth Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. David Hicks

Second Advisor

Dr. Erin E. Easton

Third Advisor

Dr. Keir Macartney


Black corals provide an important ecosystem of marine life and are found throughout all the oceans of the world at depths between 2 and 8,600 m. However, little is understood about their life history and the factors that control the distribution of black corals, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Given the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on soft corals (e.g., black corals and octocorals) in the GoM, studies of their growth and reproductive biology in both natural and aquaculture environments are crucial for restoration efforts. The objectives of this study were to examine reproductive processes, compare growth rates in situ and in aquaculture, and provide an aquaculture guide for two species of black corals (Stichopathes luetkeni and Antipathes atlantica) in the GoM. The data collected during this study will provide vital information for the protection and management of black corals at mesophotic depths in the GoM.


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