[Coral-List] Diademia Coral-List Server

Dr. James M Cervino cnidaria at earthlink.net
Thu Oct 5 12:01:18 EDT 2006

Hi Martin,

I know you are one of the best coral aquarium 
specialists on the planet as you truly understand 
the chemical interactions and mechanisms within a 
closed system. However, I disagree with a few of 
the comments that were posted below.  I am not 
saying that Diademia grazing has no impact of the 
abundance of macro-algae on a reef flat, however, 
we must never ignore the more important impacts 
of Nitrogen and Phosphorous above the thresholds 
needed in a oligotrophic system such as a coral 
reef (P. Bell,1992, Eutrophication and coral 
reefs: some examples in the Great Barrier Reef 
lagoon, Water Research, 26: 553-568; B. Lapointe, 
& M. Clark, 1992, Nutrient inputs from the 
watershed and coastal eutrophication in the 
Florida Keys, Estuaries, 15: 465-476; B. 
Lapointe, in press, Eutrophication thresholds for 
macroalgal overgrowth of coral reefs, in K. 
Thacker (Ed.) Protecting Jamaica's Coral Reefs: 
Water quality issues; Goreau. T., 1992c, Coral 
reef protection and coastal development in 
Western Jamaica, p. 39-65 in K. Thacker (ed.), 
Protecting Jamaica's coral reefs: water quality 
issues, Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, 
Negril, Jamaica; Goreau, T., & K. Thacker, 1994, 
Coral reefs, sewage, and water quality standards, 
Proceedings of the Caribbean Water & Wastewater 
Conference, Kingston, Jamaica) and to think that 
grazing will control the will control the 
abhorrent concentrations of nutrients that are 
being released into coastal reef zones is 
erroneous .

When we fail to address "bottom-up" measures to 
protect the habitat first and foremost,  all the 
Diademia antiullarun in the Ocean Realm will not 
be able to control the increasing macro-algae 
forests that the worlds reefs of the new 
millennium have evolved into. Myself and a 
research assistant went to an MPA meeting 8 
months ago on ManO War Cay (10km from  Guana Cay 
) where a few "experts"presented a "Top-Down" 
action plan that will restore the fish 
populations within designated locations in the 
Abacos.  MPA plans, such as the one being 
proposed in the Bahamas 8 months ago, tend to 
favor the actions of the developers in Jamaica, 
Bimini and Guana Cay instead of the protection of 
the coral reefs from the bottom up in the decades 
to come. 

PS: Developers that want to build golf courses 
will use this the nutrient debate in court as 
they watch the coral list server and sort of turn 
to it as a reference point.  Lets not allow 
developers to think that the nutrient thresholds 
published by the scientists quoted above can be 
ignored, as this will give them reason to say 
that the only reason reefs have shifted from 
productive Cnidarian reef systems to macro algae 
dominated habitats is due to the grazer 


>I am of course, referring to the restoration of
>the keystone herbivore of the southwestern north
>Atlantic, the sea urchin Diadema antillarum. It is
>well documented that when Diadema return to the reefs
>in large numbers, the phase shift from coral to algae
>is reversed. There is much we don’t yet understand
>about this fundamental ecological balance, but
>aggressive research projects aimed at furthering this
>understanding and developing the technology and
>techniques for restoration of this keystone herbivore
>should be pursued.  If we do this now, we can reduce
>the rate of coral reef decline and hopefully buy the
>time we need to fix the huge problems. OK, so I’m an

Dr. James M. Cervino, MS, Ph.D.
Marine Pathology
Department of Biological & Health Sciences
Pace University New York NYC
Phone: (917) 620-5287
Web site: http://www.globalcoral.org

More information about the Coral-List mailing list