[Coral-List] La Nina and global warming
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
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
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
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