Dalia Bercow, Haverford College

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Class Year:

2022

Mentor:

Halimeda Kilbourne, Ph.D.

Project Title:

Settlement of Mustard Hill Coral (Porites astreoides) on Carbon-Efficient Alternative Concretes

Abstract:

Corals are slowly disappearing, disrupting ocean benthic ecosystems that they create. Restoration efforts seek to revive dead or diseased coral reefs by out planting young coral in these areas. However, active coral restoration largely relies on the use of high greenhouse gas materials such as concrete. The goal of our study is to create and identify a low greenhouse gas concrete alternative to be used in coral restoration that maximizes the settlement of Porites astreoides coral larvae and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions. I conducted an exploratory settlement study of P. astreoides larvae on seven cement tile types, observing and quantifying the number of larvae that settled and metamorphosed on the tiles after 48 hours. While the average larval settlement rate differed among tile types, a Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA revealed that these differences were not significant (p=0.23). The lower greenhouse gas alternative concretes were not significantly better or worse than the existing infrastructure for the settlement of P. astreoides larvae. Based on the materials tested, I propose that the biocement made with Vitacal, or a similar CaCO3 mixture, should be used in reef restoration initiatives. 

Location:

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

REU Update

Research Assistant studying HIV immunotherapies with The Wistar Institute

Presentations:

Bercow, D.* and H. Kilbourne. 2023. Settlement of mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) on carbon-efficient alternative concretes. ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

The REU students are indicated with an asterisk (*).

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