Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Andrew Davies

Reader 2

Sarah Gilman

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2022 HuxleyAnn Huefner


Desmophyllum pertusum (Lophelia pertusa) is one of the primary reef-building coral species of the deep ocean (>200 m water depth) but the depth at which they are found makes them challenging to study. There have been several flume studies conducted on D. pertusum, however, none have specifically explored the influence of patch length or quantified how the rugosity of the reef structures influences flow patterns. This experiment aimed to evaluate how the rugosity and length of a patch of reef affected the water movement behind coral structures. We hypothesized that there would be a larger reduction of water velocity and turbulence behind higher-rugosity coral structures and over a longer length of patch. Coral structures were assembled from D. pertusum skeletons and 3D scanned to obtain quantitative rugosity estimates. Coral structures were then placed in an experimental flume, where velocity and turbulence metrics were measured directly upstream and downstream of the coral models using an acoustic doppler velocimeter. Short and long patches of low, medium, and high rugosity coral models were observed under constant flow (13 cm s-1). Two experiments were conducted using this experimental design, one using patches of similar rugosity corals and another using patches of differing rugosity corals. The variables tested in this experiment, rugosity and patch length, had a significant impact on water velocity and to some extent on variance in velocity, with the exception of patch length. This experiment highlights the implications a reduction in water movement behind coral structures may have on food availability and polyp dispersal. Better understanding of the fine scale interactions of structure and flow will allow us to predict the impacts of structure loss on reef functional health which is vital in a time of climate change and ocean acidification.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.