[Coral-List] An Observation

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Fri Feb 1 09:01:40 EST 2013

Hi John:

While agree with your point about the error in assuming that banning corals
in tanks will not save them, I'm not sure that allowing them in tanks will
have any greater measure of positive impact. Also, I'm not sure I'd
characterize an afternoon dive to take measurements or conduct experiments
as a boondoggle (even though that's not what I do for a living). There has
always been tension between the fact that you just can't do controlled
experiments in the wild versus significant scaling issues in microcosms.
Both have serious flaws, but as long as we acknowledge them, I think we're
on sound footing.

Walter Adey showed the pattern described in your citation 30 years ago and,
unfortunately, I have not seen it prominently acknowledged among all the
back-and-fort over the years about the role of nutrients (although I'm sure
many on the list can point me to such references within their specialty
journals). One small point (and probably just an unintended juxtaposition
in your post) - coralline algae (second para) and turf algae (cited in
first para) are not the same organisms. I mention this only because I see
the two conflated in the literature and am aggravated by the fact that so
many "experts" get this wrong.


On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 10:22 PM, Jon Skrapits
<jon at treasurecoastcorals.com>wrote:

> Listers,
> >From the link:
> "An overall negative relationship between fleshy macroalgae and
> slow-growing reef-building organisms (i.e. scleractinians and crustose
> calcareous algae) was recorded, suggesting competition between these
> organisms. The opposite trend (i.e. positive relationships) was recorded
> for turf algae and the two reef-building organisms, suggesting beneficial
> interactions and/or co-occurrence mediated by unexplored factors. Turf
> algae cover increased across the region between 2006 and 2008, while
> scleractinian cover showed no change. The need of a continued and
> standardized monitoring program, aimed at understanding drivers of change
> in community patterns, as well as to subsidize sound adaptive conservation
> and management measures, is highlighted."
> I see this everyday in my aquaculture facility. Eutrophication plays a much
> bigger role than some things discussed in the die off of reefs. The amount
> of excess nutrients needed for macro algae to become dominant over micro or
> calcareous algae is very small. A line crossed easily in aquaria. It is not
> apparent in the wild to the human eye when looking at turbidity. If you can
> see the turbidity it is already way past the point of a healthy balance. It
> takes skill to see elevated nutrients it in an aquarium where there is
> little debris in the water. If coralline algae is to grow, it needs little
> competition from macro algae because they can out compete coralline. The
> reef (ecosystem)needs micro algae to filter the water daily with the light
> and nutrients available, leaving the water clear for better photo periods.
> Then die at night and relase waste into the water for polyps and
> zooplankton to feed. At least this is what I suspect from my farming
> operations obeservations.
> Banning corals from the aquarium trade will not save them. We can learn
> much more from these animals and how they live from laboratories. An
> afternoon dive seems to be a bit of a boondoggle in comparison but is
> needed.
> http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0054260
> --
> Thanks,
> Jon Skrapits
> Treasure Coast Corals, Inc.
> Grow em instead of leaving em.
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Dennis Hubbard
Dept of Geology-Oberlin College Oberlin OH 44074
(440) 775-8346

* "When you get on the wrong train.... every stop is the wrong stop"*
 Benjamin Stein: "*Ludes, A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream*"

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