[Coral-List] Coral-List Digest, Vol 48, Issue 9

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Mon Jun 11 12:23:06 EDT 2007

Dear Jim,

I agree with you about the very valuable data that improved  
instrumentation will bring, and don't mean to put down its  
importance, even if it basically refines what is already known. You  
are also right that we did already know in a qualitative way about  
the modulating effect of ALL these other factors from field  
observations and lab experiments in the 1980s and in fact decades  
before.  It was already obvious that temperature was the overwhelming  
trigger and the rest were modulators rather than primary causes, and  
so useful less in prediction than in explaining the spatial and  
temporal variability of the responses, along with both coral and  
zooxanthella genetics. From a political standpoint there was such a  
tremendous amount of funding to "prove" that the cause was ANYTHING  
BUT temperature, yet now, after a long period of denial, ridicule,  
etc. our HotSpot bleaching prediction method is taken as such "common  
knowledge" that almost nobody bothers to cite the primary literature,

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

> Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 09:19:24 -0400
> From: Jim Hendee <jim.hendee at noaa.gov>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Coral bleaching warning in Discovery Bay
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID: <466D4BDC.1020408 at noaa.gov>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Yes, very clever of you back then, Tom, but these stations are not  
> just
> about coral bleaching, which should be obvious.  These stations are
> installed to develop long term data sets with lots of environmental
> parameters to better understand changes in coral reef ecosystems over
> time.  And building ecological forecasts utilizing these data is very
> difficult and it is going to take time, but you have to start
> somewhere.  Coral bleaching is the best place for us to start.
> Also, we have learned since your publication that bleaching isn't just
> about sea temperature, it's also about light, CDOM, tides, winds,
> suspended sediment, hydrographics of the area, etc., and those results
> are shown in some of our publications, and those of others.   These
> stations help to fill in the picture.  I like the way Dr. Michael  
> Lesser
> phrases it:  "High sea temperature sets the table for coral  
> bleaching,"
> but light and other things come in to play, too.  We want to  
> eventually
> elucidate the more complex model, especially for each of several  
> species.
> But you knew that already, right?
>     Cheers,
>     Jim
> Thomas Goreau wrote:
>> Hmm, that must progress, but we figured how to predict bleaching in
>> Discovery Bay using a cheap mercury thermometer back in 1989:
>> T. J. Goreau, 1990, Coral bleaching in Jamaica, NATURE, 343: 417
>> Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
>> President
>> Global Coral Reef Alliance
>> 37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 021
>> 617-864-4226
>> goreau at bestweb.net
>> http://www.globalcoral.org

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