[Coral-List] Prioritizing impacts to coral reefs

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Fri Apr 18 16:21:04 EDT 2014

Hi Nicole:

Here here. Those of us who are old enough to have attended the third Coral
Reef Symposium in Miami can remember when we actually listened to each

I was just out of graduate school and was a kid in a candy store. I could
go to a coral taxonomy talk at 9:00, walk across the hall to hear Walter
Adey speak about his watershed study on Holocene reef building on St. Croix
- or Gene's perspectives on the Keys, grab a cup of coffee on my way to the
seagrass session and attend talks on fisheries, ocean chemistry, sediment
transport and reef budgets - all before noon on the first day..... and
without walking more than a total of 100 meters. Bob Ginsburg really knew
how to throw a party.

But, that was back when sex was "safe", diving was "dangerous", reefs were
"healthy" and we all listened to each other. Everything has changed on most
of these fronts and now there seems to be a lot more talk than listening.


On Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 2:20 PM, Nicole Crane <nicrane at cabrillo.edu> wrote:

> Indeed, I've observed the same.  However, the story, as we all know, is
> not so simple.  The more rugose live reefs provide habitat for juvenile
> fish, and very likely provide an important link to those populations of
> larger grouper on the flatter reefs.  Fish (many), as we know, utilize a
> variety of habitats and substrates throughout their lives, as well as
> food preference.  The systems are intricately linked.  This is why I
> wish we had more interdisciplinary projects.  Geologists can tell
> biologists things they may not have thought about, and biologists can
> help geologists understand life history linkages.  Not to mention the
> importance of oceanographers...and the list goes on.  I wish we weren't
> so insular in our frameworks in this country - starting in college where
> we began to understand how research progresses.
> We are at a time in history now where we need more than ever to tie
> stories together...
> NIcole
> On 4/18/14, 11:03 AM, Eugene Shinn wrote:
> > Les Kaufman has it right about rugosity. During my college days in the
> > 1950s several of us essentially made a living spearing fish in the
> > Florida Keys. We speared mainly groupers and hog fish. I now know after
> > years of geological research that the areas that produced the most fish
> > was mainly exposed Pleistocene limestone (Pleistocene coral reef). It
> > looked like a reef to us because it had rugosity, ledges, and there were
> > the usual sea fans, sponges and ocassional large coral head. It took
> > coring and high resolution seismic surveys to reveal that where the meat
> > fish were was simply hard ground communities. We stayed away from the
> > isolated highly rugose photographically beautiful live reefs. Although
> > most are dead now those areas were populated mainly by colorful tropical
> > fish and baracuda. Large groupers can't negotiate their way through a
> > staghorn thicket very well. It remains an unsolved mystery why most of
> > that 150 mile stretch of limestone (where the big fish were) did not
> > develop a living reef after  6,000 years under clear water adjacent to
> > the Gulfstream.  Prioritizing the causes of reef demise in light of such
> > geologic history seems difficult and fraught with incorrect leads. I
> > think we still have a lot to learn. Gene
> >
> --
> Nicole L. Crane
> Cabrillo College
> Division of Natural and Applied Sciences
> 831-479-5094
> nicrane at cabrillo.edu
> www.cabrillo.edu/~ncrane
> Oceanic Society
> Senior Conservation Scientist
> www.oceanicsociety.org
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Dennis Hubbard
Chair, 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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