[Coral-List] Status of Tubastraea corals on GOM oil rigs?

Steve Kolian stevekolian at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 18 19:43:26 EDT 2010



EcoRigs is conducting research on the impacts of the oil and dispersants on tubastraea and other coral reef organisms. We began on May 7th and will continue for several months. We have been studying the coral reef communities on the structures for over 15 years. We are seeing a decline in bleenies and arrow crabs and other indicator organisms near the surface. We also see subsurface oil and a noticable decline in sunlight penetration down the water column.  


Go to http://www.ecorigs.org/EcoRigsOilSpill.html to view preliminary results. More data is on the way. 


We are self-funded which means payment for all research comes out of our own pockets; however, our crew is composed of scientist, commercial fishermen and professional divers so we are getting information and data from these latter sectors that is very helpful. 

Best Regards, Steve Kolian 225-910-0304 cell

> Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 12:05:17 -0400
> From: colin.foord at gmail.com
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] Status of Tubastraea corals on GOM oil rigs?
> I am curious to know if any researchers have explored the marine life
> communities associated with the other oil rigs in the area of the oil
> spill. I understand that the invasive *Tubastraea coccinea* (Orange Cup
> Coral) is one of the dominant colonizers upon these oil rigs from below the
> surface down to at least 20m. It seems that the health of these corals in
> the wake of the oil spill would provide an interesting (and simple) study..
> Clearly these are opportunistic and hardy corals, but they are the closest
> species to our tropical reef building corals that can be studied within the
> vicinity of the oil slicks. They are non-photosynthetic, so bleaching won't
> be an indicator of chemical stress. Being an invasive coral species on
> artificial substrate over a significant vertical depth profile, they seem to
> be the perfect guinea pigs for our understanding of oil tolerance by a
> scleractinian.
> Looking forward to your observations,
> Colin Foord
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