Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Martin


As a recently established Madagascar National Park, little is known about the diversity and ecological monitoring needs of the protected marine area, Lokobe. Although this area is assumed to be an important nursery reef used as a breeding ground to naturally replenish fish stocks in surrounding reefs, there has been a notable lack of scientific marine exploration. The present study strives to present a comprehensive understanding of characteristics associated with a reef experiencing limited fishing pressure. Data were collected from five locations within the protected marine area. Using the underwater visual consensus survey technique, 30 species of reef fish and ten coral families were observed across five transects. Fish species were categorized into six trophic groups as corallivores, algae-feeders, planktivores, omnivores, invertebratefeeders, and piscivores. Levels of live coral cover, and fish species diversity (calculated via the Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index) were relatively high and comparable to those of other productive tropical reef systems. These data will be used by Madagascar National Parks to aid in identifying environmental monitoring needs and can serve to provide baseline statistics of the benthic composition (material on seafloor) and diurnally active (lively during daylight hours), non-cryptic reef associated fish communities of the reef surrounding Lokobe National Park.