[Coral-List] Question Thermal vs pH shift

John McManus jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
Fri Jan 11 16:29:35 EST 2008

The recovery from pH changes is in line with the paper of Fine and Tchernov
"Scleractinian Coral Species Survive
and Recover from Decalcification" SCIENCE VOL 315 30 MARCH 2007, in which
species of Oculina and Madracis corals lost skeletons at high pH and
regained them upon returning to low pH. They did not test major reef
builders, but the results are astounding anyway. 

As for thermal stress, some glimmer of hope lies in the fact that
temperatures that kill a species in one locality may be tolerated by the
same species elsewhere, whether via coral physiological adaptation or
genetics, or via differences in Symbiodinium. There is also species
substitution (susceptible for tolerant) and natural temperature refugia for
some species (mesophotic reefs, upwelling areas, etc.). Not to minimize the
immense problems ahead, but the patient does still have a pulse...

Cheers! (at least for the optimists)


John W. McManus, PhD
Director, National Center for Coral Reef Research (NCORE)
Professor, Marine Biology and Fisheries
Coral Reef Ecology and Management Lab (CREM Lab)
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS)
University of Miami, 4700 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, 33149
jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu      http://ncore.rsmas.miami.edu
 Phone: 305-421-4814   Fax: 305-421-4910

  "If I cannot build it, I do not understand it."
              --Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate


-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of James Cervino
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 9:06 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Cc: arietta.Venizelos at noaa.gov; konrad Hughen; tyler.volk at nyu.edu; Michael
Robert Rampino; kcaldeira at stanford.edu
Subject: [Coral-List] Question Thermal vs pH shift

Dear Coral Scientists-

A while ago at the MBL when we compared pH shifts vs thermal stress to
investigate what will induce expulsion (bleaching) first I noticed the
following: During every trial exposing corals to thermal stress, heat killed
the corals far faster than pH changes in vitro. I am not saying that acid
conditions are not seriously inducing cell impairments in corals or
substrates as both arriving at the same conclusion, death for corals.

With that said, all the data (real time, not models) points to the corals
of heat stroke far before acid like conditions take effect. Are we not
witnessing the death of reefs in real-time due to thermal stress?

Just a question Cheers, James

Dr. James M. Cervino
Pace University & Visiting Scientist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst.
Department of Marine Chemistry
Woods Hole MA.
Cell: 917-620*5287

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