deepwater coral "reefs"?

Helmut ZIBROWIUS hzibrowi at
Fri May 26 03:43:02 EDT 2000

>But it isn't just a tropical affair (:-->), Norwegian studies show 300
>species in deepwater coral 'reef' areas off their coasts.

This is surely not specific to Norway, such deep-water coral build-ups
occurs widely along the Atlantic margin of W Europe and in other parts of
the world (for example at Saint-Paul and Amsterdam islands, southern Indian
Ocean. Depending on where and on the depth level, the main builders are
different species. Surely, these are not reefs in the common established
sense, and re-introducing this term in the deep context forgets the efforts
made by Teichmann and others to make understood to geologists and
paleontologists that not all ancient coral mass occurrences are to be
interpreted as reefs, in the sense of tropical and shallow.

One may consider that using again the term reef for these deep-water build-ups
"just takes advantage of a catchy 'sound bite' to gain status in the eyes
of the ecologically minded public", and connectedly, intends to drain
supplementary funding (no problem, these deep communities indeed deserve
detailed study).
By qualifying these structures as reefs, one also intends to benefit of
"reefs are endangered". And hasn't the whole order of Scleractinia been but
on a CITES-list by a bunch of brain-deficient bureaucrates?

>This would suggest that it is the
>three-dimensional structural diversity in the tropics and boreal zones
>which provides shelter and food, that intensifies biodiversity.
    Surely. Similar situation with the mainly calcareous algae build-ups in
the Mediterranean, locally known as "coralligene".

(Centre d'Oceanologie de Marseille)
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