Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Diego Figueroa

Second Advisor

Dr. David Hicks

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Kline


The invasive corals, Tubastraea coccinea and Tubastraea micrathus, are known to thrive in reefs within the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Many studies have indicated that species within this genus are spreading throughout the western Atlantic due to their successful invasion on degraded and artificial reef systems. In the Northern GOM, artificial reefs have been created from decommissioned oil rigs and sunken vessels to provide a hard substrate for coral growth. Although, this method is demonstrating success, it is also facilitating, the dispersal of undesired species. The species, T. coccinea and T. micranthus, were thought to be the only invasive cup corals within the GOM. However, my morphological and genetic analyses demonstrate that T. tagusensis, a native to the Galapagos Islands, is also found within the GOM and may actually be the more dominant invasive that has gone unrecognized due to species misidentification.


Copyright 2019 Amelia E. McClure. All Rights Reserved.

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