Date of Graduation

Summer 2013


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Daniel Beckman


damselfish, microhabitat, Caribbean, Bluefield's Bay, Jamaica

Subject Categories



The main objective of this project was to determine if Caribbean damselfish select microhabitat based on coral morphology. Sampling sites were located within the Bluefield's Bay Marine Sanctuary in Bluefield's Bay, Jamaica. Four species of damselfish were selected, based on their abundance and ecological significance, and were sampled at 17 sites using a passive drift sampling technique in June, 2011. An underwater camera was utilized to capture associations between damselfish and the coral reef. Habitat composition was estimated by dividing the substrate into 14 categories based on morphology. Percent composition was estimated for each substrate group at 30 randomly selected positions within each transect and then averaged to provide an estimate across all 17 transects. Three chi-square goodness of fit tests were then utilized to examine the relationship between damselfish and microhabitat selection. The first included all observed substrate groups. The second excluded sand, and the third excluded all noncoral substrate groups. For all but one species (C. parasema), there was a significant difference between habitat selection and availability when analyzing all substrate types with and without sand. However, none of the four target species showed a habitat selection preference towards one group of live coral over another.


© Nathanael R. Light

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