Applications of the SEDCON and FORAM Indices on Patch Reefs in Biscayne National Park, FL, USA

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



ICRS11, Coral Reef Organisms as Recorders of Local and Global Environment Change, Foraminifera, SEDCON, FORAM, reefs, sediments


Coral cover remains highest on patch reefs at the northern end of the Florida reef tract. Two indices, the FORAM Index and the SEDCON Index, were developed to indicate the suitability of a reef environment for continued reef accretion. Patch reefs were sampled in Biscayne National Park, FL, to assess sediment characteristics and foraminiferal assemblages, as well as to examine trends between the two indices. Sediments associated with a majority (59%) of reefs were coarse sands; muddy sediments were restricted to a few inner patch reefs that were isolated from the flow of Caesar’s Creek. Unidentifiable grains dominated the sediment constituents, along with calcareous algae and molluscan debris. Shells from 82 genera of Foraminifera were identified in the sediments. Quinqueloculina was the most consistently common genus. Percent mud was the most influential measured variable on the distribution of both sediment constituents and foraminiferal assemblages. Patterns of FORAM and SEDCON Index values and their similarity to temperature, salinity, and percent mud distributions show that Caesar’s Creek is affecting the benthic community by providing flow that limits the accumulation of mud and potentially other anthropogenic stressors. Overall this study suggests that the reefs in this area are marginal for continued reef growth.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, v. 1, p. 80-85