[Coral-List] Darwin's Reef Types Paper Published.

Paul Blanchon blanchons at gmail.com
Wed May 21 10:26:27 EDT 2014

We are pleased to announce the following open-access publication:

Blanchon P, Granados-Corea M, Abbey E, Braga JC, Braithwaite C, Kennedy DM,
Spencer T, Webster JM, Woodroffe CD. (2014) Postglacial Fringing-Reef to
Barrier-Reef conversion on Tahiti links Darwin’s reef types. Scientific
Reports 4: 4997.

Abstract: In 1842 Charles Darwin claimed that vertical growth on a
subsiding foundation caused fringing reefs to transform into barrier reefs
then atolls. Yet historically no transition between reef types has been
discovered and they are widely considered to develop independently from
antecedent foundations during glacio-eustatic sea-level rise. Here we
reconstruct reef development from cores recovered by IODP Expedition 310 to
Tahiti, and show that a fringing reef retreated upslope during postglacial
sea-level rise and transformed into a barrier reef when it encountered a
Pleistocene reef-flat platform. The reef became stranded on the platform
edge, creating a lagoon that isolated it from coastal sediment and
facilitated a switch to a faster-growing coral assemblage dominated by
acroporids. The switch increased the reef’s accretion rate, allowing it to
keep pace with rising sea level, and transform into a barrier reef. This
retreat mechanism not only links Darwin’s reef types, but explains the
re-occupation of reefs during Pleistocene glacio-eustacy.

We welcome any questions or feedback (blanchons at gmail.com)

You can view and download the paper at:



unam.academia.edu/PaulBlanchon (includes Supp. Info. in pdf file)


Paul Blanchon
Marine Geoscience Lab., Reef Systems Unit,
Institute of Marine Sciences & Limnology
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
Tel: +52  (998) 87-10009 Ext 166
Email: blanchons at gmail.com
Web: unam.academia.edu/PaulBlanchon
& www.icmyl.unam.mx/arrecifes/-blanchon.html

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