[Coral-List] coral bleaching: response to Goreau

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Wed May 31 22:24:32 EDT 2006

Dear Margie,

I am no aquariast, but I think that one reason many corals are  
regarded hard to keep alive in tanks is that so many people falsely  
think they don't need to be fed. The really successful coral growers  
all appear to recognize that feeding is crucial.

Best wishes,

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

On May 31, 2006, at 10:12 PM, Margie Atkinson wrote:

> Dear Listers
> I agree with the concept of starting a dialogue between coral  
> researchers and coral collectors and aquarists - it is long overdue!
> I work in a management capacity with the commercial coral fishery  
> on the GBR and have seen that there is a wealth of knowledge  
> available from these collectors and the aquarium industry in  
> general. Unfortunately there seems to have been little in the way  
> of shared forums between the two sectors. Coral aquarists/ 
> enthusiasts often share their knowledge through list serves, online  
> discussion groups and club meetings and newsletters - rarely  
> through the published (scientific) literature. Most scientific  
> papers dealing with physiology and ecology are not user friendly  
> for the lay person so are unlikely to have been discovered by  
> aquarists.
> I realise also that in many parts of the world commercial coral  
> collection has a bad reputation for causing significant  
> environmental impact, which may have contributed to the apparent  
> lack of engagement between the two sectors.
> The knowledge base for keeping corals in aquariums is expanding  
> exponentially and many species that, a few years ago, were deemed  
> difficult to keep are now relatively easy - I'm sure some of the  
> industry observations that have led to these developments could  
> help ecologists and physiologists refine their hypotheses and  
> experimental designs to better understand the mechanisms involved.  
> Also, people who keep coral in domestic aquaria tend to be  
> extremely passionate and observant about the occupants and recount  
> extraordinary tales about what the corals do under various  
> scenarios - maybe consideration of these "outliers" may assist our  
> understanding of the fundamental processes that still elude us!
> Another area where there is considerable scope for intersection  
> between researchers and the aquarium industry is that of field  
> observations. On the GBR, coral is collected via a small well- 
> managed fishery that uses best practice approaches. Many collectors  
> on the GBR have been in the industry a long time and have a strong  
> sense of stewardship. They dive regularly (often daily) in places  
> that scientists generally don't go  - not just on the reef but in  
> inter-reefal areas, so they have a good feel for broad coral  
> community patterns over quite long timeframes as well as for the  
> behaviour and distribution of a substantial number of coral species.
> Some of the collectors already feed into the GBRMPA's Bleachwatch  
> program  providing regular reports about the health of the reefs  
> they collect from and the particular species that are bleaching and  
> to what depth etc. It has been my experience also that many of the  
> favoured aquarium corals that are assumed to be "rare" on coral  
> reefs, especially in shallow water, are sometimes very abundant  
> inter-reefally on sediment flats - again, places that scientists  
> may not dive very often. This observation is supported by recent  
> remote controlled video work coming out of the AIMS Seabed  
> biodiversity project.
> I see that Shashank has mentioned Julian's book - another good  
> reference for aquarium corals is:
> Borneman, E.H., 2001: Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry and  
> Natural History. TFH Publications, New Jersey and Microcosm Books,  
> Vermont pp 464.
> Regards
> Margie
> shashank Keshavmurthy wrote:
>> Dear Listers
>> It is interesting to see that finally the debate
>> on the coral energy aquisition has surfaced...
>> most of the resarch papers till now say that
>> there is major contribution of Carbon form
>> zooxanthellae to corals....but, when in need the
>> corals can adapt to the carbon aquisition
>> heterotrophically....???????
>> We all need to get lots of information from
>> aquarists around the world....
>> If you will see the book written by "Julian
>> Spring" on the aquarium corals...it gives the
>> mode of nutrition as autotrophy and heterotrophy
>> to most of the corals described in his book....
>> we as researchers may just dont know what really
>> is happening out there....
>> here i agree totally with Tom....we still need to
>> get lots work done so as to understand the true
>> feeding habits of corals...
>> Recent paper by "Palardy et al, MEPS (2005) 300:
>> 79-89, Effects of upwelling, depth, morphology
>> and polyp size on feeding in three species of
>> Panamanian corals"...looks at what corals are
>> eating...
>> Collaboration with aquarists is needed to really
>> understand about the energy aquisition in corals
>> in more detail...
>> more and more people are looking at zooxanthellae
>> since it is believed to be "the source of Carbon"
>> and "the factor for/of coral bleaching
>> response"...
>> question is how much is the symbiotic dependency?
>> there are many studies showing that the corals
>> can survive without the presence of
>> zooxanthellae...it may not be for long time and
>> may not be see in natural enviroment....but we do
>> see many sea anemones in coral reefs, bleached
>> and still surviving....
>> i think it is like, do corals want to feed on
>> zooplankton when they loose zooxanthellae?
>> does it take some time to switch between the
>> modes of nutrition acquisition?
>> combination of stress factors may be disturbing
>> the switching between the modes
>> for instance, when kept in aquarium tank in
>> dark..it is only one stress and corals can
>> survive with the zooplankton being fed...that
>> means  they are able to switch between the
>> modes..?
>> hmm...its pretty complex out there..and coral
>> physiology is more and more challenging...this is
>> my view...
>> Regards
>> shashank
>> "the role of infinitely small in nature is infinitely large"-Louis  
>> Pasteur
>> Keshavmurthy Shashank
>> phD candidate
>> Kochi University, Graduate School of Kuroshio Science
>> Laboratory of Environmental Conservation
>> Otsu 200, Monobe, Nankoku-shi
>> 783-8502, Kochi, Japan
>> alt. id: shashank at cc.kochi-u.ac.jp
>> phone: 81 080 3925 3889
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> -- 
> Margie Atkinson
> Project Manager
> Fisheries Issues Group
> Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
> PO Box 1379, Townsville, QLD 4810, Australia
> Tel: (61) 07 4750 0735     Fax: (61) 07 4772 6093
> Mob: 0438 387 303

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