[Coral-List] Artificial Reefs?

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Fri Oct 25 12:42:25 EDT 2013

John, It is interesting to see that the old arguments and views 
regarding artificial reefs and their functions is still with us after 
all these years.
     Your other posting may be opening a can of worms by suggesting new 
terms for these structures/things.  What will we call an "artificial 
underwater structure (AUS)" that becomes overgrown with coral?  How much 
coral growth is required for it to become a coral reef? Maybe that makes 
it a "multipurpose underwater structure (MUS)"  or is it a "artificial 
underwater habitat (AUH)? It gets confusing and I agree with Le Berre 
the public will still call them reefs.
Seems we have our hands full just deciding what is a coral reef and what 
is not a coral reef. That has been argued every since I can remember. 
Here is an example: Most of the 150 miles of outer so-called coral reef 
tract off the Florida Keys is so thin (in many areas less than 1 m thick 
and others it is just exposed Pleistocene limestone with occasional 
coral heads, sponges, and gorgonians)  it qualifies as a "hard ground" 
rather than a true reef built up by corals. What are we going to do 
about things like Bligh Reef that is simply a submerged mountain top 
with no coral growth. That's the "thing" that the Exxon Valdize struck 
up off Alaska. Similar "things" called reefs are scattered all over the 
map and many of them are simply sand bars.
     As for transplanted corals that is another matter. It occurs to me 
that thinking about artificial reefs as corals transplanted from one 
place to another is very much like farming on land. Farms are composed 
of edible plants that have been transplanted from some natural place to 
an artificial plowed-up man-made place. Whats the difference other than 
one is underwater and the other is not? We glorify farmers but look down 
on coral transplanting?
     As for Le Berre's idea to prevent people from fishing  around rigs 
just isn't going to work in places were there are avid fishermen. The 
world is so divided on so many issues this would just be another issue. 
There really are just two kinds of people Or as Jimmy Buffett says in 
his song Fruitcakes, "humans are screwed up individuals"  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
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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