[Coral-List] Impact of listing 66 coral species on coral research

Brian Walker walkerb at nova.edu
Wed Dec 12 11:39:07 EST 2012

That is an interesting idea. No doubt those Holocene populations persisted through a variety of environmental conditions. 

To go off topic a little here, I find it interesting that A cervicornis is presently "thriving" in the Dominican Republic as well. Lirman et al. (2010) called it one of the last megapopulations. I don't know much about the history of A cerv around the island but I wonder if it has more to do with its location and local conditions allowing it to persist; perhaps as a refuge.. I wonder if there are any preserved submerged Dominican A cerv facies that might fill the gap between the Enriquillo Valley demise and the present day. It certainly persisted for long periods of time throughout other areas of the Caribbean and western Atlantic over the last 5000 yrs.

Lirman D, Bowden-kerby A, Schopmeyer S, Huntington B, Thyberg T, Gough M, Gough T, Gough R, Gough Y (2010) A window to the past: documenting the status of one of the last remaining 'megapopulations' of the threatened staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis in the Dominican Republic. Aquat Conserv: Mar Freshwat Ecosyst 20:773-781

Best regards,


Brian K. Walker, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
National Coral Reef Institute
Nova Southeastern University
Oceanographic Center
8000 N Ocean Drive
Dania Beach, FL 33004

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Greer, Lisa
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 10:06 AM
To: Steve Mussman; Eugene Shinn
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Impact of listing 66 coral species on coral research

For what it is worth, I (a geologist) agree with Gene that understanding the geologic record may be essential to modeling the future of Acroporids and other corals. However, there IS geologic data to suggest that Acropora persisted quite nicely for very long periods of time in which purely natural but 'challenging' environmental and climatic changes dominated (and we were not yet impacting the reef environment). So some geologic data does support that recent decline may be anomalous.

Greer, L., Jackson, J.E., Curran, H.A., Guilderson, T., and Teneva, L., 2009, How vulnerable is Acropora cervicornis to environmental change? Lessons from the early to middle Holocene, Geology, 37: 263-266.

I know this is only one small study, but not all geological data suggest that pre-anthropogenic breaks in the Acropora record are common or as ubiquitous as they are today. There is a lot of fossil reef yet unexplored.

Lisa Greer
Associate Professor
Geology Department
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA  24450
(540) 458-8870
greerl at wlu.edu<mailto:greerl at wlu.edu>
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> [coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Steve Mussman [sealab at earthlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:07 AM
To: Eugene Shinn
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Impact of listing 66 coral species on coral research

   Dear Gene,

   I  suppose  you  will  never understand/learn why coral scientists and
   environmentalists are so worried about the impacts of anthropogenic climate
   change..  Although the geological record is essential for understanding how
   species respond to natural climate change, there are a number of reasons why
   future effects on biodiversity will likely be different and particularly
   severe. Human-induced warming is already rapid and is expected to accelerate
   further. Changes, not in models, but in the real world of glaciers, heat
   records, species distribution and behavior, are already evident.  It is
   quite possible that in a geological instant, planetary conditions will be
   transformed to a state unlike anything that the worldâs modern species have
   ever encountered. Most ecosystems have already degraded and lost resilience
   from past human activities. In this context, synergies from temperature
   increases, ocean acidification, chemical pollution and other factors could
   lead to cascading extinctions for the changes are occurring too rapidly for
   adaptations like those found in the geological record to reoccur.

          And this time around, we believe we could have done something about


   -----Original Message-----
   >From: Eugene Shinn
   >Sent: Dec 10, 2012 3:31 PM
   >To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
   >Subject: [Coral-List] Impact of listing 66 coral species on coral research
   >Dear Listers, I suppose coral biologists and environmentalists will
   >never understand/learn what the geology of coral reefs is telling us.
   >As pointed out many, many times, about 98 percent of the Florida Keys
   >reefs are no less than a meter thick yet they have been underwater at
   >least 6,000 years. Acropora has come and gone several times during
   >that period long before all the current hysteria about
   >Co2/warming/alkalinity shift began. Seems likely that if history were
   >not repeating itself our reefs would be many meters thicker and
   >contain a continuous record of all the species we worry about. Gene
   >No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
   >------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
   >E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
   >University of South Florida
   >College of Marine Science Room 221A
   >140 Seventh Avenue South
   >St. Petersburg, FL 33701
   >Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
   >Coral-List mailing list
   >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
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