[Coral-List] La Nina and global warming

Keven Reed reedkc at comcast.net
Fri Dec 3 10:24:08 EST 2010

Dear Ashley & other coral-listers,

    Any gradient changes the ecology of microorganisms present, whether it's a temperature gradient or an oxygen gradient, or a pH (acidic versus alkalai) gradient--both in the water column and on the coral's soft tissues.  For an excellent primer that elucidates sampling normal flora of coral reefs with contemporary gene probes & PCR technology, you might enjoy Forest Rohwer's recent 2010 softback (with Merry Youle):  Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas.  It's a guick, humorous, up-to-date peek at where we are and how we got to our current level of understanding.....
    Additionally, I will send you two pdf attachments in a separate personal email (as all attachments are stripped from coral-list postings) that tangentially address yours & Mr. Causey's thoughts.  One of the pdf files is a reprint from almost twelve years ago (before the lab I was associated with started using DNA probes routinely) when I cultured bacteria from the spines of two common Western Pacific coral reef echinoderms (the white spined urchin, Echinometra mathaei, and the crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), a hermatypic coral polyp predator) as well as water column samples.  Our lab cultured the bacterial samples at 23 degrees C (room temperature) and 30 degrees C (86 degrees F).

    Also, in my article Skin and Soft-Tissue Infections after Injury in the Ocean:  Culture Methods and Antibiotic Therapy for Marine Bacteria, you may note under the subheading "Which Temperature for Incubation?", that we commented on the fact that more than 80% of the marine environment is perpetually cold (less than 5 degrees Celsius/41 degrees F), unlike where our reef building specialists, hermatypic stony corals, thrive.

Keven Reed, O.D.
Fleming Island, Florida

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: ashley grimmer 
  To: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov 
  Sent: Friday, December 03, 2010 5:33 AM
  Subject: [Coral-List] La Nina and global warming

  Dear list,

  Billy Causey raises a good point about increased microbial activity with
  increasing temps, an idea that I personally have not come across.

  If Billy, or anyone for that matter, knows of any references on the topic
  would they please share!


  I carefully weigh in on this dialog with just a couple of additions to
  the great points Doug has raised.  It's also important to discuss
  climate change as it relates to coral health because as the water
  temperatures increase, so does the microbial activity in the coastal and
  marine environment.  And then, you add nutrients to the mix, like we
  have in the Florida Keys and other island areas,  a simplistic result is
  that you feed the microbes.  Then all sorts of coral diseases start
  showing up.  One of the controlling parameters has been how long the
  water remains warm, due to elevated sea surface temperatures ...that
  result from climate change and how polluted the water is in the area.
  So, it is all connected in a synergistic and complex way.  The same
  thing happens to fish.  It was no accident that while we were having
  massive coral bleaching events in the Wider Caribbean in 1997-98, that
  we were having major outbreaks of coral diseases, fish dying from
  Brookenella and there were coastal harmful algal blooms in China, the
  Gulf and elsewhere on a global scale, at the same time and we were
  having a major Pfiesteria outbreak along the eastern seaboard of the
  United States.

  In my opinion, Doug is correct that coral bleaching and ocean
  acidification are serious responses from the impacts of climate change,
  but we are just starting to unravel the complexity of the full range of
  impacts from climate change to coastal and marine environments.  In the
  late 1970s and throughout the 1980's it was  the tropical coral reefs of
  the Caribbean that were responding.  Next, we will see more temperate
  environments responding to ever-increasing sea surface temperatures.....
  and due to climate change.


  Ashley Grimmer (B.Sc Hons) M.Sc Candidate
  Oceanographic Research Institute
  Tel: +27 31 328 8169
  Cel: 073 649 5481
  Fax: +27 31 328 8188
  Email: ash.grimmer at gmail.com
  1 King Shaka ave, Point, Durban, South Africa
  Coral-List mailing list
  Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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