Steneck at maine.maine.edu
Thu Oct 8 00:22:46 EDT 1998
Charles Delbeek asked:
>Could it be that the increased presence of macroalgae in reef areas in the
>region could be the by-product of reduced "cleansing" of reef tracts by
It's unlikely because the spatial and temporal patterns do not conform
with the prediction. Areas with both high and low hurricane frequencies
have experienced macroalgal increases. For example, St. Croix had very
low levels of macroalgal biomass through the 1970 despite not having had
a hurricane hit for over 50 years. Jamaica also had low biomass prior to
and several years following Hurricane Allen. In both cases, macroalgal
biomass increased immediately following the die off of Diadema. Diadema
control of macroalgal biomass had been demonstrated experimentally by
Ogden and Carpenter for St. Croix well before the die-off. Similar
increases in algal biomass have been observed throughout the Caribbean.
You certainly don't need to believe me (e.g., Steneck 1994), since every
hurricane cruise track is posted on the web, the question is testable.
Steneck, R. S. 1994. Is herbivore loss more damaging to reefs than
hurricanes? Case studies from two Caribbean reef systems (1978 - 1988).
pp 220 - 226. In: Ginsburg RN (ed) Proc Colloquium on Global Aspects of
Coral Reefs: Health, Hazards, and History, 1993. Rosensteil School of
Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida.
Robert S. Steneck, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine
Darling Marine Center
Walpole, ME 04573
207 - 563 - 3146
e-mail: Steneck at Maine.EDU
The School of Marine Sciences Web site:
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