[Coral-List] Damsel fish, algae, lionfish, etc

Forest Rohwer frohwer at gmail.com
Wed Feb 19 12:59:38 EST 2014

Dear Coral-Listers,

The conversations about damsel fish, algal patches, lion fish, etc are
soooo 1980s. While a great decade for music, we have progress significantly
in our understanding of coral reefs since then...

1) There is a whole field of coral-algal-microbe-allelochemical literature
that provides mechanistic (and fairly predictable) understanding of these
relationships (including why damsel fish patches can be good or bad).

2) Similarly, we also have a reasonable understanding of trophic
interactions and how the predators play extremely important roles in the
health of the coral reefs. Think dynamics, not standing stocks...

Yes, not everything is worked out. On the other hand, we really do know
ALOT about how things are happening. I'm just encouraging people to engage
a little less in observational/anecdotal discussions and use the science.
That probably means reading outside of your comfort zone. Don't be afraid
of the microbes (well be a little afraid). Look at the literature from the
remote islands, where pristine systems are being studied. Have some fun, it
is really cool.


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