UNH Ocean Seminar

Fine-scale Terrain Sampling and Niche Modeling Growth and Disease Cover Trends of Long-term Outplanted Staghorn Corals (Acropora cervicornis) in the Lower Florida Keys

Glenna Dyson
Project Research Specialist


Friday, Mar. 29, 2024, 3:10pm
Chase 105

Habitat suitability models have long been utilized within restoration ecology to project areas of range expansion, diversity hotspots, and potential locations for nursery-reared outplant success. In the Florida Keys, multiple species have been targeted for coral restoration, especially Acropora cervicornis due to its importance as a reef building stony coral. To date, habitat suitability models have used data with coarse spatial resolution on wild A. cervicornis populations, resulting in recommended sites that are logistically and financially difficult to outplant to by restoration groups. Additionally, coral outplant success can vary widely within a limited space, necessitating the understanding of how to project optimal outplant locations within a restoration site. With the advent of Structure-from-motion reconstruction, fine-scale digital elevation models can be created which can assist in developing targeted habitat suitability models from extacted terrain variables. This study uses fine-scale seafloor variables within a generalized linear mixed models to project site-specific location of high A. cervicornis growth and healthy coral cover in the long-term. Model results emphasize the importance in long-term monitoring and fine-scale surveying when utilizing habitat suitability models to make site recommendations for coral outplanting.


Glenna received their B.S. in Environmental Science with a Marine Science emphasis from Western Washington University. While there, they developed their GIS skills and spent time aboard the R/V Atlantis, using the HOV Alvin to collect and characterize deep-sea ecology within the Gulf of Mexico. After working in a COVID testing lab for a year, they came to UNH to pursue a master's in Oceanography. Their thesis focused on modeling outplanted coral growth and healthy cover trends in the Florida Keys. Glenna is currently a Project Research Specialist whose efforts contribute to the work of the spatial ecology group within CCOM/JHC.