[Coral-List] Climate change - Arabian Gulf as a case study

Iain Macdonald dr_iamacdonald at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Jun 8 01:22:16 EDT 2004

Katie, just a quick 5 minute response to your query.
If you are interested to see dead reefs then you have a wide choice. Let me suugest just one region. The Arabian Gulf has suffered due to warm water anomalies in 1996/98 and 2002. This marine area may well indicate the future for coral reefs as we know them. The main reason is that this marine area has a normal temperature fluctuations between 17 and 36 degrees celsius (give or take a few!!!). Any significant "global warming" will have a direct affect here as the average water depth is only 36-m for the whole gulf. The western side is shallower. In addition, the reefs here are already under additional natural (e.g. salinity) stresses. Reigl (2003) has written a paper detailing the likely demise of the reefs in this region. There are several potential lights at the end of the tunnel. 1) Adaptive bleaching hypothesis (ABH: Buddemeier and Fautin (1993)) and/or 2) a shift to an alternative coral species assemblage 3) Replenishment of coral species populations from unaffected (reservior)
 regions. Other people may have different views on the above and/or add other suggestions.
The Gulf allows an ecosystem experimental approach to the above mentioned "natural" responses of corals to global climate change. Only time will tell and highlighting the Gulf may bring the stark reality to the decision makers here that one of their most valuable marine resources may already be compromised beyond what is humanly feasible to mitigate.
I hope this helps you. Kind regards
Iain Macd.
Riegl B (2003) Global climate change and coral reefs: different effects in two high latitude areas (Arabian Gulf, South Africa). Coral Reefs 22(3)

Buddemeier and Fautin (1993) Coral Bleaching as an Adaptive Mechanism: A Testable Hypothesis. BioScience 43:320-326 
A more up to date ABH paper is 
Buddemeier et al. (in press) The Adaptive Hypothesis of Bleaching. In: Coral Health and Disease. available at 
Hi there, 
I am doing some research for the BBC into Climate change. We are filming
in different areas around the world to analyse different examples of
climate change, and we'll be holding studio debates and other discussion
on the causes of the examples we find. I am writing to ask if your list
members may be able to recommend any sites of dramatic and visual coral
degradation or change which may be attributable to climate change. I am
keen to invite discourse from those involved in coral research on any
aspect of this project.

Kate Forbes (kate.Forbes at bbc.co.uk)

(NB: BBC News is part of the BBC, a public broadcasting corporation) 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ - World Wide Wonderland

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