[Coral-List] Re: Flameless, cost-free response

Michael Risk riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca
Tue Mar 2 07:54:27 EST 2004

Hello Jim, colleagues.

I supported your original decision, with the proviso that I would like
to see more sexually-explicit material on the list.  I was struck,
however, by your innocent mention of Nature taking her "slow" course.

In this broad discussion of means towards reef rehab, it might be
appropriate to set some upper and lower boundaries for recovery rates.

We know, from Walter Adey's drilling work, that after a sea-level rise
reefs will colonise the flooded coastline-AFTER about 1,000 years
during which the silt etc is reworked out of the shoreline deposits. So
those who blithely state that reefs will simply expand landward and
up-latitude following any sea-level rise produced by icecap melting
don't know what they are talking about. (Either that, or they are very
patient people...hmm, close to flaming here...)

So that's the upper limit: at least 1,000 years, following sea-level
rise. Any future recolonisation would likely take longer, because the
ocean would have to clean up all the condos and Cadillacs.

At the lower end: Tom Tomascik has described reef initiation on a lava
flow in the Banda Islands, Indonesia. From hot lava hitting the ocean
(the local name for the site is Air Panas-"Hot Water") to 100% cover by
mostly acroporids was about 5 years. Of course, the human population
density is almost zero, and the water is dead clean.

Perhaps this puts the "need" for artificial substrates into
perspective. We shouldn't need them.

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