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

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Sat Apr 12 17:24:40 EDT 2014

Alina, I agree that Caribbean Coral death continued into the late 1980s 
and 1990s however, the peak year of /Acropora/ death was 1983. That was 
the year both A. /palmata/ and /cervicornis/ died at San Salvador. Thats 
way out east of the Bahamas and surrounded by deep clear blue water. 
Telephone pole reef at San Salvador, (almost entirely a staghorn 
thicket) died in 1983  over a very short period (2 or 3 months). It was 
disease that was not preceded by bleaching. Death of that reef put the 
nearby resort devoted to underwater photographers out of business. This 
was all observed by the director and scientists at the nearby Finger 
Lakes lab at San Salvador. My 52-year serial photographs of the same 
sites in the Florida Keys confirm that coral death peaked in 1983. They 
were showing signs of sickness in the late 1970s but the peak time of 
demise was 1983. Summer water temperature in the Keys was no higher in 
1983 than previous years and wide-spread bleaching in the Keys did not 
start until 1986. As you know the peak year for African dust flux into 
the Caribbean was 1983. I might add the second peak year was 1998 but by 
then disease and bleaching was rampant everywhere in the Caribbean. That 
world wide El Nino even killed corals in the Persian Gulf where corals 
had long been adapted to extreme temperature changes.  Before you 
mention "correlation is not causation" I remind you that correlation is 
causation when when people correlate sewage/people (the usual suspects) 
with coral death. It seems to depend on what is being correlated. If you 
really want to get stirred up read the coral section in the recently 
released Non Governmental Climate Change report. There you will find 
that acidification is not a problem. I certainly agree with you about 
over population but you have to be realistic. That ain't gonna change 
voluntarily. You may be interested to know that in the current IPCC 
massive report on page 1106 chapter 12 there is a Frequently Asked 
Question (FAQ)  12.3, "*What would happen to future climate if we 
stopped emissions today?*"  as part of a longer sentence the answer 
given is, "Much of the warming would persist for centuries after 
greenhouse gas emissions stopped." So if green house gasses are the 
ultimate cause none of us will ever see the reefs recover. Very 
depressing. 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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