Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

April 2017

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Mark Fregeau

Abstract

Marine fouling communities are comprised of various marine organisms that begin life as planktonic larvae before attaching to submerged surfaces. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the substrate preferences of marine organisms that commonly foul New England marinas. Two sets of four 14x14cm fouling plates were constructed out of one of four materials: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fiberglass, concrete or slate. These plates were suspended off a floating dock at 1 and 2 meters below the surface of the water. The 16 plates were placed at the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston, MA, on 17 July 2016 and photographed every two weeks until 4 December 2016 for a total of 20 weeks. Individual organisms were counted and the percent cover calculated for colonial species to examine what settled and general abundance. It was found that the most common fouling organisms were Ciona intestinalis, Molgula sp., and Botrylloides violaceus. Ascidiella aspersa and Botryllus schlosseri were also present. The two most common solitary species present on all plate materials were C. intestinalis and Molgula sp. with B. violaceus being the most common colonial species. C. intestinalis showed a preference for the concrete plates over the other available surfaces. B. violaceus was most common on the slate plates. All colonial ascidians were observed growing on other organisms showing their involvement in secondary settlement. Understanding the substrate preference of these species develops a baseline for further research and the potential to control the spread of invasive species naturally.

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