[Coral-List] Coral recovery during climate change

Eugene Shinn eshinn at marine.usf.edu
Thu Apr 23 14:33:29 EDT 2009

      Great new paper titled, "Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: 
Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery" (Guillermo and 
many others published in PLoS; April 2009, v. 4, Issue 4, e5239). The 
paper describes infestation by the alga Lobophora variegata following 
Acropora bleaching and death around the Keppel Islands in the 
southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The resilient corals bounced 
back within 3 years. Water temperatures are not given, but bleaching 
and death were attributed to brief high temperatures (heat wave) 
brought on by climate change. It is good to know that coral reefs can 
be resilient and can recover. Good news indeed.
     In February 1964, similar Acropora bleaching and death occurred 
on nearshore coral reefs throughout the Persian Gulf. A bulbus green 
alga  infested in-situ dead skeletons. The reefs recovered but it 
took longer than in Australia. The cause was climate change. Then it 
was an extreme cold-water event during a period of declining 
temperature. Air temperatures were falling after the global warming 
that occurred in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  Water temperature 
reached 4oC in Doha Bay and mortality was not limited to corals, 
although massive corals survived. Sea snakes, dugongs, cuttle fish, 
and numerous reef fishes succumbed and washed ashore. Those reefs 
were indeed resilient, although that term, and popular expressions 
like "tipping points," were not in vogue. Death and recovery and the 
event were documented in: Shinn, E.A., 1976, Coral reef recovery in 
Florida and the Persian Gulf: Environmental Geology, v. 1, p. 241-254.


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 

More information about the Coral-List mailing list