USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Pamela Hallock Muller, Ph.D. Associate Professor, College of Marine Science

Second Advisor

Walter Jaap Courtesy Professor, College of Marine Science

Third Advisor

Thomas Smith, Ph.D. Program Director, University Honors Program


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

May 2013

Publication Date


Date Issued

May 2013


Artificial reefs in the United States, including the West Florida Shelf (WFS) are often composed of waste-materials used to improve ecosystem services of reef habitats. Recent efforts have been made to extend the use of artificial reefs by designing reefs to mimic natural bottom of the WFS to be used as mitigation sites. The objective of this project is to compare designed and waste-material artificial reefs by assessing benthic cover. The study revealed waste-material and designed artificial reefs had similar benthic assemblages and provide similar ecosystem services. The primary difference, more abundance of sponges on the waste-material and more algae on the designed artificial reefs. These trends are more likely a consequence of the location and depth of the reefs than their design or materials.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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