Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Calwyn Morton - University of the Virgin Islands
This research seeks to determine if there is morphological variation in leaf length, width and area of Halophila stipulacea in the US Virgin Islands. Halophila stipulacea is an invasive seagrass species originally native to the Indian Ocean. It invaded the Mediterranean Sea shortly after the opening of the Suez Canal, and has recently been found in the Caribbean.Variation in seagrass leaf metrics can be a signal of genetic variability, the influence of the submarine environment, the increase or decrease in nutrient availability, the amount of organic content in the sediment and generally as a predictor of the effect of human caused disturbance in coastal habitats (May-Ku 2010). Samples of H. stipulacea leaves were collected from eight sites in the US Virgin Islands.These samples were scanned and leaf metrics were analysed using the image processing program: ImageJ for their length, width and area. These data were then compared to that of other sites where H.stipulacea was found and will be used to compliment data from genetic, sediment and water column environmental analyses and be used to construct an invasion model of H.stipulacea in the US Virgin Islands.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): VI-Epscor; NSF; Emerging Caribbean Scientist Program
Faculty Advisor: Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Sample Collection. Data analysis. Statistical analysis.