[Coral-List] Just in time for Copenhagen

Michael Risk riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca
Fri Dec 4 11:03:17 EST 2009

I think we can all thank Gene for bringing this paper to our attention.
It would have hove into view eventually on our radar screens, but Gene
picked up on it quickly.

The results are fascinating, and raise a ton of questions (on many of
which I am sure  the authors are already beavering away). Of interest
to me was that the molluscs, which tend to make shells on a continuous
basis by secreting a delicate mix of soluble and insoluble organic
matrices, behave as one would expect-high CO2, low shell secretion. On
the other hand, arthropods make their shells during episodic bouts of
intense metabolic activity-and those behave in the counterintuitive

I think this paper opens up a whole new field of insight into the
processes of skeletogenesis. (Maybe even, in a few years, insight into
Kinetic Isotope Effects...)

Contrary to the statement "Given the diversity of life on Earth, one
would assume that there would be variability in how individual species
respond to changing conditions. This may be news for a geologist, but
not for those of us trained in ecology", I can assure readers that, for
one example, Anne Cohen has forgotten more about variability in
individual species than the average North American-trained ecologist

But the take-home message is a dismal one-if we make acidic oceans, a
lot of critters will suffer.


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