[Coral-List] Black Reefs

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Fri Sep 9 11:23:09 EDT 2011

Many of the structures I have seen coated with corals are not in keys but in Bahamas, lower Caribbean.  I think the effects of the metals in the ship hulls has much to do with the nature of the substrate the wreck is on.

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
Center for Marine Science and Dept of Biology and Marine Biology
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409 USA
tel:  910-962-2362  fax: 910-962-2410  cell: 910-200-3913

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Ulf Erlingsson
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2011 1:03 PM
To: Coral Listserver Listserver
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Black Reefs

The Florida Keys are not iron limited, but there are some tropical waters that are, and in such a location the addition of a ship wreck can conceivable have a huge impact and provoke a growth spur of algae. 

The other point I want to make is that the ships aren't made of "iron" but steel... Which implies that they are an alloy of iron, and as such, one must also consider what the alloying elements are.


On 2011-09-08, at 11:23, Eugene Shinn wrote:

> I agree with Alina, Steve, and Charles, regarding  "Black Reefs." 
> Could it be the teak wood that is the problem? It can't be iron.  I 
> worked as a salvage diver in the Florida Keys in the 1950s recovering 
> scarp iron from turn of the century wrecks. Lots of coral grew on them 
> except for where they were discouraged by dynamite. In the 1980s we 
> documented the effects of oil wells drilled on coral reefs off of Key 
> West. In the 1950s there was little concern for the environment so 
> abundant iron objects and cables were discarded at the drill sites.  
> Today there is more oral there because the iron objects created more 
> surface area for coral growth than the adjacent natural bottom.  The 
> bottom is not black!  The latest Department of Interior edict issue 
> called "The Idle Iron project" implemented by the Bureau Of 
> Environment and Minerals Regulation and Environment (BOEMRE ) formerly 
> MMS, directs the various energy companies (at great expense) to remove 
> more than 600 idle offshore oil and gas platforms in the Northern Gulf 
> of Mexico. As divers in the area know, these offshore rigs are 
> incredible artificial reefs and  likely more productive than all the 
> natural reefs in the Northen Gulf of Mexico. They also support coral 
> growth as well as a wide variety of fish from the surface down to 
> whatever depth in which they are located.  They are not Black Reefs! 
> There is now a growing effort to save them called SAVE THE BLUE. 
> Listers will be hearing more about that later. 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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