Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sarah Gilman

Reader 2

Colin Robins

Rights Information

© 2015 Molly Spiegel


Over the next three decades, there are many predicted disturbances to Earth’s oceans, such as El Nino and hurricanes, which will lead to mass coral bleaching effects. Marine protected areas have been utilized worldwide to maintain coral population sizes and remediate external stressors, such as overfishing or mining. Using a series of modeling techniques, this thesis will propose an experiment that will determine the optimal distance and location for a future MPA in New Zealand. It will also be measuring whether one large reserve or a network of smaller MPAs are more effective in the regeneration of stony corals. These models will be based on Solemosmilia variabilis, the most common stony coral in the region. Based on past studies, it is hypothesized that there will be a significant positive increase with the metapopulation growth of corals in both protected areas. It is also predicted that there will be a higher rate of connectivity within a network of smaller marine protected areas if the MPAs are less than 2 km apart. If the distance is greater, one larger MPA will be more effective due to the lower rates of genetic drift.

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