[Coral-List] What do coral reef scientists preceive are the major threats to Caribbean coral reefs?

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Fri Apr 11 12:53:50 EDT 2014

Sarah, I am surprised you did not mention African dust. There certainly 
has been a lot of discussion of this hypothesis and you can now find 
abundant literature on the subject. Unfortunately it is not something we 
can do much about and no one has figured out how to make money with it. 
We learned the hard way that it undermines the agendas of many 
government agencies that base their congressional funding on doing 
something that makes everyone feel like something useful is being done. 
When our dust project at USGS came to a close around 200 different live 
microbes had been identified. There are many many more waiting to be 
identified. We found various pesticides (including DDT still used in 
Africa) were present, as well as Mercury, Arsenic,  Lead-210, radiogenic 
Beryllium-7, and iron which is about 5-6% of the dust. Si and clay 
minerals of course are the major components. When we first proposed iron 
could be the micro nutrient causing turf algae to take over coral reefs 
people screamed that it is insoluable and thus not bioavailable. Now 
chemical oceanographers are recognizing that due to Ligands the iron is 
made bioavailable and increases primary productivity in the open ocean 
as first proposed by John Martin. His Iron x experiments, (conducted 
after his demise), proved once and for all that atmospheric iron 
stimulates primary productivity. The release of iron in a non productive 
area of the deep Pacific west of South America produced a patch of green 
algae that could be seen from space. The irony (no pun intended) was 
that the experiment would never have happened without top down support 
from some congressmen. The bottom up approach involving the usual peer 
review proposal approach would have squelched the idea in the bud. So 
you are asking scientists for their opinion on the the major causes of 
coral reef decline? Good Luck! Expect the "Usual Suspects." Besides 
management can not handle African dust or anything else that may be 
natural. No agency is going to get funded (as we found out) asking for 
money to investigate the coral reef and Human effects of African dust 
and or Asian Dust. Benchmark ideas in science seldom survive the bottom 
up approach. 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
---------------------------------- -----------------------------------

More information about the Coral-List mailing list