Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Tstujia, Cameron J.,

2nd Supervisor

McCausland, Philip, J.A.,



Skeletons of Devonian rugose corals feature submillimetre-scale growth ridges on their outer surface (epitheca) that record the successive positions of the coral polyp during longitudinal corallite growth. Specimens of rugose corals Eridophyllum and Cystiphylloides from the Hungry Hollow Member of the Middle Devonian Widder Formation were sectioned longitudinally and imaged by SEM, and image processing techniques were applied to extract a line representing the epithecal surface. Local extrema found through peak detection allowed growth ridges to be represented as simplified triangles, so that geometric measurements (area, length) could be related to coral growth and analyzed in reference to possible paleoenvironmental cycles. This research has produced an objective method for the extraction of growth ridge data from a two-dimensional coral slice, although slice location was found to influence results. Results show potential sub-monthly bundles of ~15-17 ridges, not previously observed, which suggest a lunar/tidal influence on coral growth.