reef definition

marcos info at
Tue Jan 22 08:00:18 EST 2002

Dear all,

many many thanks for this nostalgic discussion. It sent me immediately
back at the time when I had to wrap up my thesis. Then, just to give an
overview over reef definitions in the literature of the past 150 years was
an almost inhuman task. But you know professors. I finally succeded with
that and then I could start with my own definition. Man was I proud! Proud
to seperate the old definitions from the new scientific knowledge I
thought I had then. I wrote it, I printed it and that was it. One more in
a pile of definitions on what a reef really is.

My definition does exclude the part with the wave-resistance (to my
knowledge introduced by Vaughan 1919...the literature-work has to be good
for something) because by then I had not only heared from the deep water
Lophelia-reefs off Norway but had seen the video-footage. If these are not
reefs, then forget those tiny structures in the Red Sea and the
Carribbean. But then again, this is my experience and my definition.
Strange enough I never had a problem in communication with other reef
scientists. I knew what they were talking about, what a surprise.

My point is, there is no point in trying to reach an agreement for such a
broad definition as a definition of reefs. Everybody, who experienced
reefs has a feeling for this. And depending on this experience he or she
will define a reef a little bit different. But when it comes to reef
protection, nobody would say, "ok, this is a reef by definition, lets
protect it and this is a coral patch, so what the heck, blast it".
Protection and awareness doesn´t start with definitions. And our task as
scientist is to communicate this to politicians and governmental
organisations. Use your own words, then you can convince.

Well, that was my point. Sorry for my german-english,

cheers, Marcos

Marcos Gektidis PhD
Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut
Senckenberganlage 32-34
60054 Frankfurt am Main

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