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Keywords:

  • acroporid;
  • Biscayne National Park;
  • Florida;
  • restoration;
  • reef

Historically, fragmentation has been a successful life history strategy in Acropora palmata. However, in areas where the population is sparse and degraded, the survivorship of fragments is now compromised. This study aimed to determine whether stabilization of A. palmata fragments could increase their overall performance. Naturally occurring fragments were found and assigned to one of three treatments: stabilized to the natural substrate (1) using cable ties, (2) using epoxy or (3) tethered to the substrate as an unstabilized control. After 44 weeks, the general “performance” of the fragments was ranked based on their change in live tissue cover and formation of tissue connections with the substrate. Stabilized fragments lost less tissue cover and ranked higher in performance than the unstabilized control fragments. Stabilization using cable ties and epoxy were similarly effective. The results indicate that stabilizing fragments will preserve live tissue and enhance growth of fragments and can thus improve the survivorship of fragments.