[Coral-List] Carbonate balance.

John Ware jware at erols.com
Thu Oct 19 13:08:32 EDT 2006

Hi Mike (and List):

While I usually find it wise to practice "Risk avoidance", I can't help 
but revisit the statement that you made which is quoted below:  

>-bioerosion accounts for >50% of the carbonate balance of a reef, and

I realize that I am just an engineer who got into coral reef stuff 
rather late in life and I find myself often confused by various terminology.

When someone uses the phrase "carbonate budget" I think of adding up all 
the things that make calcium (and, I suppose, magnesium) carbonate and 
deposit the result on the reef.  The negative things are the things that 
result in CaCO3 being removed from the reef.  

Now it seems to me that there are two ways to remove CaCO3 from the 
reef: 1- pick it up and take it somewhere else; 2- dissolve it back into 
the ions from which it has come.

I may be wrong, but I thought that the vast majority of bioeroders (as 
the term is commonly used) spend there time "making little ones out of 
big ones", not actually dissolving the CaCO3.  I seem to recall from 
something I read somewhere that Cliona does both.

If I am indeed correct that the majority of bioerosion simply results in 
smaller particles, then their removal from the reef has nothing to do 
with the bioerosion itself.  Water motion and gravity do the removal.

One more comment is that, from what I have read, making little ones out 
of big ones is essential to reefs keeping up when water level is rising. 
 The old, catch up, keep up, or give up.  Corals don't look like trees, 
they don't keep up with rising water level by growing taller.  A 
substrate has to be made for growth of new corals that is higher than 
the previous substrate and corals won't do this by themselves.  Grinding 
the corals into fine particles, the particles being cemented together, 
and so forth is what allows keeping up.


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