[Coral-List] Oil and corals

reeftown1 at aol.com reeftown1 at aol.com
Tue May 4 12:20:08 EDT 2010

Fellow Colleagues,
      This is not the time to be dividing the scientific community on the merits or detriments of each persons studies.  I think we will all agree that the coral reefs are essential to the well being of the planet.  We can all logically surmise that this oil spill will do great damage to our ecosystem, whether it be the coral reefs, grass beds, mangroves, wetlands, or just messy beaches (lets hope only for the later).  I emplore the scientific community to put aside this idle bickering and help come up with a plan, that is not too late, to PREVENT irrepreble harm to our ecosystem..   At present I am concerned with the dispersants that are being deployed at alarming rates to solublize the crude and make it not such an apparent disaster. "Of course" BP is doing political and financial damage control here, who wouldn't.  But the true question is What is the effects of this dipersant to the final outcome of the leak (assuming it can be capped).  In my thinking this dispersant is weighing the crude such that it sinks and sits on the ocean floor.  Now we have to consider the effects of a layer of crude covering our benthos.  Without the biological action of the benthos an entire element of the N cyle has been disrupted ( to over simplify it).  I fear the long term effects will far outweigh the short term effects of floating crude.  Further, if this solublized crude is moving over the ocean bottom in the same manner as the surface, then all the barrier reefs in it's path will be coated and, if for no other reason, will smother them. The event, which started in the Mississippi Canyon is impacting the Louisiana wetlands now and is eventually headed to the Florida Keys and we stand to loose the largest coral Reef ecosytem in our nation.  
      This is a time for the "Think Tank" to hypothesize and make collective inferences on what the effects of what they are doing now will result in.  If these inferences are to stop the dispersants, then we need to make it known.  But we can't, in good conceince, sit by and just see what happens so we can come to our data exhausted conclusions.  It is important for us to digest the actions being taken now and determine if, as a scientific collective, we believe they are or are not in the best interest of our ecosystem as a whole.  We cannot be concerned with the financial and political impact on BP or other drilling concerns  ONLY ON THE ECOSYSTEM.    
       Since I am in the Florida Keys my efforts will be there, but the information we can share and dissiminate can help the entire Gulf and East Coast.    
       Booms are already being deployed in the Keys, and a public meeting is scheduled in Key Largo on Tues. May 11.  I hope not too late.  I am in contact with those "that be" in that area and could use any constructive input on, preventive damage control, immediate response to impact, short term mitigation of effects and of course long term revitilization (damage will need to be known for that part).  
        At present, my recommendations are (and please, open for debate)
           1.  Boom deployment around the the entire Keys outer coastline, inside the reefs.   It is my hopes the crude will only be floating at this point.  This is only effective if the seas cooperate.  Boom systems around the outer reefs may have more of a detrimental impact on them by possibly prolonging their exposure to the crude and physical damage to corals from draging booms. 
           2.  On the Northern end of the Keys, Boom deployment around the entire Keys inside the first mangrove islands, providing a sheltered berm and sacrificial area in the event the primary boom system does not hold.  These islands would in all likely hood die from the event, but protect the rest of the ecosystem south of them.  Clean up efforts would then be simplified by containing this oil in the outer islands only.  (On the northern side, these are, for the most part, uninhabited except for sensitive wildlife.  
          3.   The Southern side of the Keys would deploy the same system, but more difficult due to inhabited islands.  The only hope would be that when the crude passed the Keys in the Loop current it would tend to move more south, outside the barrier reefs and more in the gulf stream.  (There is no easy answer here, I'm afraid they all have consequences)
          4.  On a final note, it would be absolutely neccessary that dispersants are not allowed to be deployed around the keys, such that the oil could "move past them as opposed to engulfing them and settling on them. 
          5.  I have no answer for the Dry Tortugas, which are well west of Key West.

         I emplore, everyone in the reach of my voice to think this through and share your thoughts.  Someone may have a spark of absolute genius dwelling inside them.   I thank you for attention to this critical matter, and apologize for my rambling.   Jeff

Jeff Shelnut
Marine Biologist
Reeftown Marine Aquaculture
(561) 901-2950
Jeff at Reeftown.com


-----Original Message-----
From: James Cervino PhD. <jcervino at whoi.edu>
To: Steve LeGore <slegore at mindspring.com>
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>; Walter Goldberg <goldberg at fiu.edu>
Sent: Mon, May 3, 2010 2:23 pm
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Oil and corals

Hi Steve & Gene,
I received a call from a reporter that claimed that some scientists said that
the oil spill" will not harm the the corals.
Gene; I am sorry if my swipe came out like Steve mentions; however, I know you
ike to get a rile out of us liberals that believe in anthropogenically induced
lobal warming, well it worked.... I feed into this all the time, however, I
osted something due to wanting journalists to see that there are many of us,
ased on our experimental data, that oil spills are toxic, kill corals and
ther invertebrates causing massive ecological damage that is un-imaginable..
I respect the work that Gene has conducted; however, I am allowed to have an
pinion as well be vocal against the oil machine.

egards, James "who took the bate"

r. James M. Cervino
isiting Scientist
oods Hole Oceanographic Institute
ontact Information:
YC Address: 9-22 119st
ollege Point New York, 11356
ell: 917-620*5287

uoting Steve LeGore <slegore at mindspring.com>:
* I think you overstepped in your final paragraph, Jim.  I have seen some very
 good work done by petroleum industry-funded researchers over the years (and
 some not so good) and I have seen some pretty simplistic stuff done in
 academia (and much good).  I have also seen good data misinterpreted and
 misused by Public Relations people on ALL sides of oil spill issues.  Your
 statement implies that all work supported by "big oil" is specious, which I
 think is a pretty broad brush stroke that does disservice to many good and
 honest people.  I would rather see the debate forwarded based on factual
 data, and not on character aspersions.

 Steve LeGore

 -----Original Message-----
 >From: "James Cervino PhD." <jcervino at whoi.edu>
 >Sent: May 2, 2010 6:14 PM
 >To: Walter Goldberg <goldberg at fiu.edu>
 >Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
 >Subject: [Coral-List]  Oil and corals
 >Dear Walter, Thank you for your refreshing posting. I also did experiments
 >Montastraea exposed to mild doses of crude oil; the corals began to expel
 >algae within 24hrs, similar to the expulsion rates with mild doses of HCN..
 >difference between the HCN exposure and crude oil exposure was; cell death
 >quicker with cyanide, and exposure to oil was slower. One quick note though;
 >mucus production and buildup of Sulfide fouling was only associated with
 >oil exposure.
 >I remember a few folks denying that HCN killed the corals. However, with
 Jones &
 >Oves work on the the inhibition of Photosynthesis using the PAM and the work
 >Goreau, Hays and I did, we were able to shut down the deniers claims very
 >I guess we are in a similar situation in this current time; in that some
 >now minimize the effects of crude oil spills and its toxicity effects on
 >corals! Those "good ole folks" that are employed by big oil, will stop at
 >nothing to get your eyes to not believe what they are seeing.
 >Good Day!
 >Dr. James M. Cervino
 >Visiting Scientist
 >Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
 >Contact Information:
 >NYC Address: 9-22 119st
 >College Point New York, 11356
 >Cell: 917-620*5287
 >Quoting Walter Goldberg <goldberg at fiu.edu>:
 >* Listers, for those of you who want to get a better background on the
 >* relationship between corals and oil spills than might be revealed by one
 >* person's personal experience and opinions, please see NOAA's manual on the
 >* subject:
 >* http://response.restoration.noaa.gov
 >* Scroll down to their 10 MB pdf Oil Spills and Coral Reefs, which in part
 >* states:
 >* The old notion that coral reefs do not suffer acute toxicity effects from
 >* floating over them
 >* is probably incorrect. Certainly, direct coating increases the severity of
 >* impact, but oil concentrations
 >* attainable during a spill may also kill some species.
 >* Cheers,
 >* Walter M. Goldberg, Ph.D.
 >* Professor of Biological Sciences
 >* Florida International University
 >* University Park Campus
 >* Miami, FL 33199
 >* email goldberg at fiu.edu
 >* Message: 2
 >* Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2010 13:03:49 -0400
 >* From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
 >* Subject: [Coral-List] Disaster in the Gulf and Coral Reefs
 >* To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
 >* Message-ID: <a06230949c800bdc7f49f@[]>
 >* Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"
 >*      With the developing oil disaster in the Gulf, I thought a few
 >* comments regarding the effects of crude oil on coral reefs might be
 >* healthful. Some of you know my background in the industry and my work
 >* with API committees before 1974. In 1972, I ...........+ 6 paragraphs not
 >* reproduced here.
 >* _______________________________________________
 >* Coral-List mailing list
 >* Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
 >* http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
 >This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.
 >Coral-List mailing list
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