[Coral-List] Re: Coral-List Digest, Vol 27, Issue 20

Alan E Strong Alan.E.Strong at noaa.gov
Fri Sep 23 14:50:49 EDT 2005

Hi Georgina,

Great question!!!

You need to get a copy of the latest report we have just submitted to 
TNC for a project in Palau to do just what you talk about.  We are 
developing hydrodynamic models for use in these coastal areas after 
finding several years ago with our work on the Great Barrier Reef with 
some Australian colleagues that these tools may prove the most useful in 
identifying areas withing reef ecosystems that might have more 
resistance and/or resilience to bleaching.

Papers are in various stages of progress...

I am coying this to Drs. William Skirving and Scott Heron, our 
Australian contractors who helped us develop these models, and am 
hopeful that they can give you further guidance...if necessary.


Charles Birkeland wrote:

>That is the focus of much research in American samoa. The reefs there 
>are so remarkably resilient to multiple disturbances and stresses, we 
>are trying to determine the mechanisms. Are they acclimatization, 
>adaptation, small-scale environmental factors or particular 
>combinations? Abstract (first draft) for the USCRTF meeting reads as 
>Long-Term Research in American Samoa on Adjustments of Corals to 
>Climate Changes
>Coral reefs have always been dynamic systems, constantly in a state of 
>recovery from disparate disturbances that have been a perpetual part 
>of the environment. In the past three decades, however, a large number 
>of reefs around the world have lost the ability to recover and have 
>continued to decline, even after the disturbance has gone. There is a 
>crucial need for coral-reef management to determine the factors that 
>promote resilience, the ability to recover, in coral reefs. The coral 
>reefs of American Samoa (AS) have continued to be remarkably resilient 
>to large scale disturbances, recovering within about 15 years after a 
>crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak (1977) and also after two hurricanes 
>(1990 and 1991), and even more rapidly after widespread bleaching 
>associated with warm seawater (1994, 2002, and 2003). The corals in AS 
>have also shown special resistance to local stress in particular 
>sites. In the shallow backreef moat in the National Park on Ofu 
>Island, at least 80 species of scleractinian corals withstand brief 
>but severe fluctuations in water temperature (up to 6.5º C within a 
>day, reaching 35.5º C), fluctuations in dissolved O2 (15 to 220 
>percent saturation), and strong UV radiation.  The determination of 
>the mechanisms of resilience of Samoan reefs will provide important 
>guidance for reef management and for selection of sites for MPAs. In 
>order to tease out the roles of acclimatization (physiological and 
>biochemical changes in the corals, and shifts in types of 
>zooxanthellae), adaptations (genetic changes), and extrinsic factors 
>(e.g., patterns of water motion), transplant experiments were 
>undertaken by Lance Smith and Dan Barshis. Smith and Barshis performed 
>754 reciprocal and controlled transplantations of corals between 
>stressful and benign habitats. Lance found that both acclimatization 
>and water motion have significant roles in the resilience of corals in 
>the Ofu backreef moat. Dan is performing biochemical analyses of the 
>coral tissues to assess changes in levels of heat-shock proteins, 
>antioxidants and other chemicals that indicate disruption of 
>photosynthetic and metabolic processes in time sequences following 
>transplantation. He is aided by Ruth Gates and Rob Toonen (Hawaii 
>Institute of Marine Biology) and Jonathan Stillman (San Francisco 
>State Univ.). Greg Piniak (NOAA) took over 600 determinations of 
>fluorescence yield of zooxanthellae to estimate how well the 
>photosynthetic system is working in the symbiotic relation with the 
>coral community. Changes in phylotypes of zooxanthellae are being 
>assessed by Andrew Baker (WCS and Columbia University). Virginia 
>Garrison and Christina Kellogg (USGS) are determining changes in 
>associated microbial communities on the corals. Adaptation will be 
>tested by comparing the thermal tolerance of juvenile corals from 
>planulae originating from adults transplanted from the forereef over a 
>year before parthenogenic planulation, with thermal tolerance of 
>juvenile corals from planulae from adults transplanted from the 
>backreef. Genetic differences from forereef and backreef populations 
>are also being examined. These experimental studies are within a 
>backdrop of long-term studies. The first permanent transect in AS that 
>has been quantitatively monitored to this day was started in 1917. 
>Some large colonies of Porites have recorded climatic changes in their 
>skeletons for hundreds of years. The goals of these studies are to 
>provide an understanding of the sensitivity and adaptability of coral 
>reef systems to environmental changes so that we can predict the 
>effects of climate changes, and to provide insight into which coral 
>reef sites are most important to protect from disruptive human 
>activities so as to provide broodstock of corals for reef recovery.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>Date: Friday, September 23, 2005 6:00 am
>Subject: Coral-List Digest, Vol 27, Issue 20
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>>Today's Topics:
>>  1. Re: no-bleaching data (Jim Hendee)
>>Message: 1
>>Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 10:24:03 -0400
>>From: "Jim Hendee" <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov>
>>Subject: Re: [Coral-List] no-bleaching data
>>To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>>Message-ID: <43341003.5090101 at noaa.gov>
>>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
>>   Great thought!  Instead of focusing quite so much on where and why
>>"the sky is falling" on our coral reefs, focus on where and why 
>>apparently similar conditions) the sky is not falling, and protect 
>>thoseareas so they can recruit still larger areas.  It will be 
>>interesting to
>>learn if it is the conditions, or the physiology, or both (most 
>>likely),for areas of non-bleaching where high sea temperature/high
>>irradiance/whatever models predict bleaching.  It sounds like a great
>>line of research.
>>   Cheers,
>>   Jim
>>Georgina Bustamante wrote:
>>>I hope observers can also detect (and eventually identify) specific
>>>conditions under which some coral reefs located in areas with 
>>high risk
>>>(high temeperature, etc.) are not bleaching at all.  That may 
>>provide useful
>>>information for MPA design and planning.
>>>Georgina Bustamante, Ph.D.
>>>Marine Science and Policy Consultant
>>>3800 N Hills Dr. #216
>>>Hollywood, Florida 33021
>>>tel/fax(request) 954-963-3626
>>Coral-List mailing list
>>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>>End of Coral-List Digest, Vol 27, Issue 20
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**** <>< ******* <>< ******* <>< ******* <>< ******* 
Alan E. Strong  
Branch Chief, Marine Ecosystem and Climate Branch (MECB)
Coral Reef Watch Project Coordinator
Phys Scientist/Oceanographer 
  NOAA Science Center -- RM 601 
  5200 Auth Road
  Camp Springs, MD 20746-4304 
        Alan.E.Strong at noaa.gov
             301-763-8102 x170   [Tues-Thurs]
             301-713-2857 x108   [Mon & Fri]
                (SSMC1 - RM 5304; Silver Spring, MD)  
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