[Coral-List] Cold water and coral mortality

Eugene Shinn eshinn at marine.usf.edu
Fri Jan 15 13:18:25 EST 2010

For those interested in what may lie ahead here are some "ancient" 
pre pdf papers describing effects of cold fronts/cold water on common 
species of corals in the Florida Keys.

1) In this study water temperature below 14 degrees C during a cold 
event in Feb 1962  killed transplanted A cervicornis in the Fla Keys 
Shinn, E. A., 1966, Coral growth-rate, an environmental indicator: 
Journal of Paleontology, v. 40, no. 2, p. 233-240.

2) In this study  transplanted M. annularis  was killed by 9.7 
degrees C at Snake creek Jan 20, 1977
Hudson, J. H., 1981, Response of Montastrea annularis to 
environmental change in the Florida Keys, Proceedings, Forth 
International Coral Reef Symposium 2 Manila. pp. 233-240
More details of that low water temperature event are in:

3) Roberts, H. H., Rouse, L. J.,Jr., Walker, N. D., and Hudson, J. 
H., 1982, Cold-water stress in Florida Bay, and northern Bahamas--a 
product of winter cold-air outbreaks. Journal of Sedimentary 
Petrology, v. 52 pp. 0145-0155.

4) The same cold event (Snow in Miami) killed many acres of A. 
cervicornis at Dry Tortugas as described by:
  Davis, G. E., 1982, A century of natural change in coral 
distribution at the Dry Tortugas: a comparison of reef maps from 1881 
and 1976. Bulletin of Marine Science, v. 32, pp. 608-623.

The Jan 20 1977 event (when snow flurries were seen in Homestead, 
Florida) literally wiped out A. cervicornis on all shallow bank areas 
of the Tortugas. This species recovered but was later exterminated by 
disease between 1983 and 1984. Staghorn coral remains in decline at 
Tortugas. These studies led coral biologists to believe that low 
water temperature controls the distribution of of Staghorn and 
Elkhorn in the Florida Keys thus limiting them to the outer margin of 
the reef tract. Gene


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---------------------------------- 

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