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An Analysis of Spatial Distribution of an Isolated Bahamian Population of the Lined Seahorse, Hippocampus erectus, via Nearest Neighbor, Hot Spot, and Buffering Assessments

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dc.contributor.advisor Froeschke, Dr. Bridgette
dc.contributor.advisor Masonjones, Dr. Heather
dc.contributor.advisor Rose, Dr. Emily
dc.contributor.author Elson, Jessica
dc.date.accessioned 2019-12-16T14:52:00Z
dc.date.available 2019-12-16T14:52:00Z
dc.date.issued 2019
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11868/923
dc.description.abstract Understanding the spatial distribution of animal populations is essential for placing their social interactions into context and developing hypotheses about reproductive, feeding, and predator prey behaviors. A particular population of the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus, is found in an isolated salt water lake, Sweetings Pond, on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. This ecosystem provided a unique opportunity to study the space use of a high density seahorse population in its natural environment. Examination of clustering patterns across time of day, aggregations by size and sex, habitat impact by season, and predator influence on overall spatial distribution were conducted. These questions were analyzed and tested for significance via geographic mapping utilizing nearest neighbor analysis, hot-spot analysis, and the buffering tool. It was concluded that this population of seahorses forms clusters during the nighttime compared to uniform dispersal seen during the daytime. The average seahorse total body length increased with increasing depth regardless of sex. This population is also positively correlated with algae cover in both the wet and dry seasons and display active avoidance of potential predators. Sweetings Pond provided the ideal conditions to be able to study a population in its natural environment. The unprecedented conclusions drawn from this field study provide critical information regarding the natural ecology, behavior, and future conservation efforts of this vulnerable seahorse species. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Honors Program, The University of Tampa en_US
dc.subject Clustering en_US
dc.subject Conservation en_US
dc.subject Hippocampus erectus en_US
dc.subject Spatial en_US
dc.subject Lined seahorse en_US
dc.subject Northern seahorse en_US
dc.title An Analysis of Spatial Distribution of an Isolated Bahamian Population of the Lined Seahorse, Hippocampus erectus, via Nearest Neighbor, Hot Spot, and Buffering Assessments en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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