ITMEMS Statement on Coral Bleaching

Rick Grigg rgrigg at
Tue Jan 5 20:54:41 EST 1999

Dear all,

	Not to make light of the current status of coral reefs vis-a-vis
bleaching events in 1998/99, the coral reef scientific community might at
the same time contemplate the question of how coral reefs survived during
warmer times in the past, such as 17-20 Pleistocene interglacials, not to
mention the Cretaceous, when the world's oceans may have been many degrees
celcius warmer than today.  One answer might be that such changes occurred
over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years allowing corals to adapt.
Another might suggest that corals are more resilient or adaptable than we
think.  Whatever the explanation, we should not fail to consider the role
of paleoclimate in the evolution and current status of corals.

					Rick Grigg
					Dept. of Oceanography
					University of Hawaii

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