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Modeling Coral Breakage at Kure Atoll

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Title:Modeling Coral Breakage at Kure Atoll
Authors:Shimabukuro, Eric
Contributors:Potemra, James (advisor)
Oceanography (department)
Global Environmental Science (department)
Keywords:computer modeling
corals
coral reefs
Date Issued:2014
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Place of Publication:Honolulu
Abstract:Given the current state of climate change, coral reefs throughout the world are under
increasing pressure to survive. One factor influencing the development of coral reef
ecosystems is the energy of the surface waves passing above them. The waves cause
the water particles beneath them to flow in elliptical orbits, and the bottom of these
orbits can create strong flows which can cause coral fingers to break off. This study
follows the work of Storlazzi et al. [2005] in an attempt to model the likelihood of coral
breakage at Kure Atoll. To accomplish this, the wave field is modeled using the third
generation wave model Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN) [Booij et al. 1999], with
boundary conditions and wind forcing provided by WaveWatch III [Tolman 2002]. The
SWAN results for the velocity of the wave orbitals are fed into the hydrodynamic ‘Force
Balance Model’ of Storlazzi et al. [2005], which estimates the applied stress of the water
on the coral, and compares this with measured mechanical strengths. The results, which
differ from Storlazzi et al. [2005], indicate that the corals of Kure Atoll are well suited
to their environment, and are hardy enough to withstand typical wave conditions year
round. Additionally, the extreme event results indicate that corals can withstand open
ocean wave heights of up to nine meters, due in part to the fact that high resolution
modeling indicates that some of the wave energy is lost as the waves approach the shallow
coral reef zones. Finally, this study highlights the need for extensive documentation
in the presentation of mathematical models: because the documentation of Storlazzi
et al. [2005] did not explicitly define all equations utilized, it is impossible to completely
compare the results of this study and the previous one, leaving questions as to why the
results differ so greatly.
Pages/Duration:49 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/69393
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Rights Holder:Shimabukuro, Eric
Appears in Collections: Global Environmental Science (GES)


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