non-indigenous species in reef systems

Bob Buddemeier buddrw at
Tue Mar 9 11:58:29 EST 1999

Let's be careful about interacting variables and proximate vs. ultimate
causes.  I would suggest that macroalgae are pretty much macroalgae,
whether endogenous or exogenous.  There may be a few remote or depauperate
areas (Hawaii might fit the description) that have hitherto lacked an
effective macroalga, but for the most part I would guess that the primary
problem is the environmental change that makes the calcifying community
more vulnerable to algal competition, not the presence/absence of specific
algae.  Same for the disease issue -- the diseases may be new, or newly
introduced, or simply much more virulent in their effect on a weakened
population. Since we have a lot of independent evidence that the
populations are weakened, the last is the most parsimonious solution.

The reefs don't have to be lucky if they are adapted to their environment;
what's unlucky is that precipitous environmental change is changing the
rules more rapidly than they can cope with.  Impacts of introduced species
are more likely to be symptoms than part of the primary insult.


Dr. Robert W. Buddemeier
Senior Scientist, Geohydrology
Kansas Geological Survey
University of Kansas
1930 Constant Ave.
Lawrence, KS 66047

ph (785) 864-3965
fax (785) 864-5317
buddrw at

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