[Coral-List] coral starvation/feeding project?

Lad Akins lad at reef.org
Thu Jun 1 10:54:05 EDT 2006

HI all,

These discussions regarding bleaching, thermal stress and "starvation" have
been very interesting, civil and enjoyable!

They also bring to mind night diving recollections and thoughts about a
potential research project.

During night dives with students and novice divers it has often been a fun
practice to shine our dive lights on or near large corals and watch what
happens to the microfauna attracted to the light.  Of course, the numerous
worms and other critters swarm around the lights and invariably bump into
the extended tentacles of hungry corals.  These corals were quick to take
advantage of an easy meal.  "Feeding the corals" for a few minutes was
always interesting and educational, prompting great post-dive discussions.

As this thread has so aptly illuminated (no pun intended), feeding of corals
during bleaching events (or thermal stress?) MAY reduce the long or even
short term effects of the event.  Any takers on implementation of a study to
regularly "feed" corals in situ as they begin to bleach and compare the
effects to unfed corals?  Should be easy to do on regularly dived reefs by
marking the corals to be fed and those to be left alone and let visiting
divers take part in the study by feeding.

I would assume that even a short period of focused feeding would provide
much more prey than the corals would ordinarily see in an evening of

I would be interested in helping to implement the diver portion of this
study if anyone out there is interested in study design and data analysis.

Just a thought.  Thanks for the great discussions.

Best Fishes,


Lad Akins
Executive Director
98300 Overseas Hwy
Key Largo  FL  33037
(305) 852-0030 x-2#

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