[Coral-List] Re: Meandrina meandrites Bleaching, Boynton Beach, FL

Martin Pêcheux martin-pecheux at wanadoo.fr
Thu Oct 14 15:50:19 EDT 2004

Dear Ed, Tom,

I am not sure that bleaching 50 years ago was the same as mass bleaching
events today, but Tom can tell more. Extract from my "Review on coral
reef bleaching, Pecheux, 1997,  214p., accepted by Atoll Res Bull but
unprinted, available at www.reefbase.org" :

Goreau and Goreau (1959) judged an opportunity for experiments their
finding of in situ bleached colonies of Manicina areolata under a large
coral head in semi-darkness. Goreau (1964) has observed temporary and
reversible bleaching on the fore-reef slopes at depths below 30 m, which
was described more precisely by Goreau et al. (1970): "For reasons not
yet understood, almost complete bleaching, i.e. loss of zooxanthellae,
is often observed in deep water reef corals that appear to be otherwise
normal. It is perhaps noteworthy that such corals regain their normal
complement of zooxanthellae within a few days whereas in severely
stressed corals the recovery of the zooxanthellae takes several months".
This casts doubt whether true symbiont expulsion occurred, and at least
indicates an important difference with recent bleaching phenomenon.
Yonge in 1973 stated that "colourless colonies of hermatypes are from
time to time encountered in deep shade, usually under some man-made
erection". During a monitoring  of Montastrea cavernosa at 3 sites on
Panama's Caribbean coast over 2 years, Lasker (1979) found only one
colony with a small bleached region, at time of heavy waves in December
1979. Muscatine et al. (1979) stated: "Most desirable are
naturally-occurring aposymbiotic corals of the same species [for
experiments]. Unfortunately these are difficult to obtain, and for most
species may be virtually non-existent. During the course of
investigations (...) we discovered naturally-occurring aposymbiotic
colonies of Madracis mirabilis (...) in Discovery Bay, Jamaica", due to
sediment covering.

Also, thanks to mention Palythoa, which was described as the most
bleaching sensitive species in reports till the 1990, but seemingly no
more mention for a decade. It is notewhorthy because Palythoa has its
symbionts in ectodermal cells.


Dr. Martin Pêcheux, Scientific Consultant/IPCC
Large Foraminifer Institute
3, allée des Elfes, 94260 Fresnes, France
Phone: +33 1 4237 4196
martin-pecheux at wanadoo.fr
Publications at www.reefbase.org, publication, Pecheux

goreau a *crit :

> Dear Ed,
>         Nice work!
>         You are completely right  that Meandrina is a particularly
> strong and predictable bleacher, but this is long known.  That is why
> my parents used it to experimentally determine the physiological,
> cellular, and biochemical  effects of bleaching on corals 50 years
> go. Since those days we have noticed it to undergo regular seasonal
> paling in warm seasons. This, like so much else,  has been ignored by
> the current generation of reef  "scientists" who do not know or
> respect the old knowledge. so that  they can "discover" it.
>         For 15 years now we've been able to predict when, where, and
> how bad bleaching will be in almost all cases worldwide  from
> satellite data alone, before it can be seen in the field, using our
> HotSpot method (Goreau, 1989, Goreau et al. 1991, Goreau & Hayes,
> 1994, and much more).
>         The Southeast  Florida area had  a well developed HotSpot
> this year, and Dan Clark noticed marked bleaching underway in Broward
> County over  a month ago, coincident with your observations. This
> HotSpot was completely dissipated by the reduced sunshine and strong
> vertical mixing that accompanied the hurricane, so we are predicting
> rapid recovery except for Palythoa, which will linger, as usual.
>         Best wishes,
>         Tom
> >For the 5th year in a row bleaching of Meandrina meandrites colonies
> >offshore of Boynton Beach, FL (26 30 00 N, 80 02 00 W) is occurring.
> >This is an annual event with the colonies fully recovering by the
> >beginning of December. I have setup a website
> ><http://hometown.aol.com/etichscuba/page1.html>Maze Coral Bleaching
> >(http://hometown.aol.com/etichscuba/page1.html) to provide updates
> >regarding this 2004 bleaching episode. I am a scuba diver and not a
> >coral scientist. I am not aware of a similar, predictable cycle
> >elsewhere. I would be interested in your comments and will be more
> >than happy to provide with any information you request.
> >Ed Tichenor

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