Gaya rope ecology project

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The intermediate disturbance hypothesis states that high biodiversity is possible through intermittent disruptions to an environment. The rope ecosystem near Pulau Gaya differs in levels of disturbance, age, and ocean environment type, and therefore is a suitable model for testing this ecological theory. We measured species richness of several rope sites in the Pulau Gaya region varying in the aforementioned characteristics and looked for evidence of ecological patterns of succession. We hypothesized that we would see greater species richness in regions of medium disturbance levels based on the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Contrary to our expectations, we found that species richness was not dependent on disturbance level or age of rope section. Environment type, however, did have a noteworthy effect on species richness, although the relationship was not statistically significant (p=0.06). In conclusion, we did not find evidence supporting the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, possibly due to our small sample size and our inability to quantify disturbance levels.