9ICRS debate on coral reefs and climate change

Don McAllister mcall at superaje.com
Tue Nov 7 08:10:49 EST 2000

Nerilie Abram wrote:

>   We fully agree that temperature rise and CO2 rise are serious and
> potentially devastating threats to the future of coral reefs, however
> we firmly believe that sea level rise is not a threat to coral reefs.
> Geological evidence in fact suggests quite the opposite, and under the
> currently projected rates of future sea level rise coral reefs around
> the world should easily be able to keep pace with sea level rise and
> would most likely flourish in the new “accommodation space” provided
> for reef growth. An example can be observed on Heron Island, where the
> construction of a weir resulted in an artificial and immediate sea
> level rise on the order of metres and has been accompanied by a marked
> increase in coral reef growth. Of course, given the stresses on reefs
> by other factors their ability to respond to rising sea level may not
> be as great as that

I ask purely out of ignorance.  Was the Heron Island coral coral
diversity behind the weir the same as it was before?  I can deforests
and plow a field and let it go back to nature - but first there will be
a lot of weeds and it make take a long time before the balance is what
it used to be.  The diversity of corals is in some ways related to the
much higher degree of diversity of organisms that live amongst them.
Less than a 1000 coral species support almost a million species of
scientifically named and as yet unnamed species.

Can one track such fine detail as species change in the geological
record?  A few corals take centuries to reach their full size and form.

Don McAllister
Ocean Voice International

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