coral reefs doomed?

JM Kemp jmk100 at
Sun Sep 9 12:37:09 EDT 2001

One small comment about range - expansion and survival of coral and other
associated taxa in the face of climate change: Ignoring the details of
arguments about acidity, etc, and just thinking geographically, if climate
change does
force those taxa away from the equator into higher latitudes, a quick look
at any atlas shows that the 'range expansion' argument is invalid for
some large parts of the GLobe. Although it may hold water in the Tropical
Atlantic, parts of the Pacific, and the densely - packed archipelagos of
the Indo-Malay region, in the Indian Ocean (especially the
northern INdian Ocean), and other areas this is not the case. 

My own stamping ground of Arabia, including the Red Sea and the Arabian
Sea, provides good examples: force the many hundreds of taxa endemic to 
that part of the world any further north and they'll have to develop legs
and lungs (which may be taking the adaptation hypothesis a little too
far): there's nowhere else for them to go except dry land. 

Similarly, any of the numerous reef-coral taxa endemic to remote islands
or island chains in the tropics of any of the worlds oceans are likely to
have nowhere to go, simply because they are unable to disperse and
colonise areas away from their present home ranges. For poorly dispersing
taxa the distance involved may not even have to be very large before it
becomes insuperable.

Just a thought.

Jerry Kemp

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