[Coral-List] Sediments and stress

James M. Cervino (Marine Biologist) cnidaria at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 9 08:34:30 EST 2007

Top of the morning to you Gene,

Your post seems to advocate that sediment loading will have no effects on current day reef building corals. You postulate your claim citing tests during 1979-1980 experimental in-vitro analysis yielded no death, thereby only showing minimal or no disturbance to M. annularis  during 96HR/4day TREATMENTS. 

The reason why coral physiologists, ecologists will shutter at the mention to this post is due to us knowing and understanding that sedimentation over longer periods of time will induce polyp retraction thereby reducing feeding behavior. This will also increase mucus production as well as reduced photosynthesis that can affect growth over time.  These 4 day experiments that you are citing cannot match what will happen if dredging and drilling were to truly happen near or in a reef system.  Environmental conditions were different during that period in time and yes I understand that these experiments were conducted in closed systems preventing other environmental variables from influencing these experiments, however, the duration of this experiment cannot elucidate that these data show that sedimentation and dredging will not harm corals. Especially in today’s world where corals have been shocked numerous times by thermal stress, not to mention a changing microbial flora that yield more virulent strains of opportunist bacteria that are colonizing on the surfaces of corals just waiting for a moment in the corals metabolic (immune) system to weaken.  The over all primary coral killer points to excessive, thermal stress brought on by anthropogenic global warming, new virulent pathogens, chemical pollution, macro-algal competition and higher sedimentation loading will kill corals if agencies allow dredge and fill projects to continue to happen near corals reef ecosystems. I understand that you do not think anthropogenic induced global warming is happening, or that sedimentation kills corals however, I suggest you try these experiments for longer durations as I have done with thermal stress in combination and then observe the differences. 

Sorry I respectfully disagree with this post as corals are at the “tipping point” and it is time to think differently and evolve to newer ways to harvest energy and conduct man based activities close to coastal zones.


Marine Pathology
Pace University Department of Biological Sciences
1 Pace Plaza New York NY 10038

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