Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean, Coastal, and Earth Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Carlos E. Cintra-Buenrostro

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniele Provenzano

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard J. Kline


Most artificial reefs (ARs) in the Gulf of Mexico are considered intermediate to high vertical relief structures which have recruited large predatory species indicating lack of juvenile habitat. Small, inexpensive ARs, standard monitoring units for the recruitment of reef fish (SMURFs), were deployed at eight sites at -20m as habitat for juvenile fishes to understand and determine the effects of substrate type on juvenile fishes recruitment. Each site contained four SMURFs with four treatments: small and large rubble (~10 and ~20cm), oyster shells, and bare. Surveys yielded 39 juvenile species, including one of the most economically important species, Lutjanus campechanus, present across all replicates. Highest richness and diversity occurred in SMURFs containing oysters or small rubble while bare had the lowest. This study suggests deployment of low-relief structures with different substrate materials might affect recruitment of select species and provide further information useful to individuals designing ARs, aiding fisheries production.


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