[Coral-List] Corals Persist But Bioerosion Rises in Low-pH Waters

Anne Cohen acohen at whoi.edu
Mon Jun 15 08:41:43 EDT 2015

Dear Steve and Gene 

It's gratifying to see that our study generated such interest and healthy discussion. Note that our case for a link between low pH and enhanced bioerosion is made from a comparison of response variables across multiple naturally low pH coral reef systems, not just one.  These reefs have different flow, light and temperature environments, different frequencies of variability in those parameters, different community compositions, degrees of connectivity, biogeography, distances from shore etc. Their only commonality is low pH and the only common response variable (amongst those measured) is enhanced bioerosion and dissolution. This observation, supported by fairly substantial experimental evidence, led us to our conclusion, and a testable hypothesis. 

Thank you again for the energetic and thoughtful discussion
Hannah & Anne 

Sent from my iPad

> On Jun 13, 2015, at 2:40 PM, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:
>   Dear Gene,
>   It seems to me that suggesting that âconfirmation biasâ is responsible for
>   shaping the conclusions of countless studies published by coral and climate
>   scientists in regards to the impending impacts of climate change and ocean
>   acidification is a bit over the top. Iâm not a scientist and although that
>   phrase seems to have become an excuse for promoting uncertainty, I can still
>   read and evaluate scientific information. Considering the preponderance of
>   evidence in support of the popular paradigm, I would think that any solid
>   research that reaches an antithetical conclusion would have no problem
>   getting  published or obtaining funding. There are a number of special
>   interest groups and think tanks that are eager to discredit prevailing
>   scientific thought and as such they would welcome and support any sign of
>   legitimate  scientific  disunity.  Of  course the problem here is that
>   confirmation bias works both ways and following your lead one would have to
>   wonder what factors could possibly be at play in motivating the detractors.
>   Another possibility is that the science is pure, valid and compelling and
>   that the reason for a lack of science-based contention on these issues is
>   that there simply arenât any antitheses that have withstood the test of
>   time.
>   Regards,
>   Steve
>     -----Original Message-----
>> From: Eugene Shinn
>> Sent: Jun 12, 2015 10:45 AM
>> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Subject: [Coral-List] Corals Persist But Bioerosion Rises in Low-pH
>     Waters
>> No surprise that my apparent skepticism about relationship between
>> alkalinity shift (aka ocean acidification) and limestone boring
>> organisms elicited several responses both on and off line. I asked about
>> experimental confirmation and as expected was shown several papers
>> indicating positive correlations between lowered pH and increased
>> boring. Positive relations in these experiments were obtained when the
>> pH level was adjusted to projected CO_2 levels for the 21^st century.
>> There was no confirmation that present levels caused increased boring.
>> Could the positive results be a leap of faith since those projected
>> levels may not be reached in the future? Such experiments do serve as a
>> warning and should be seen as such. There is a well-tested phenomenon in
>> financial circles called Confirmation Bias. Simply stated, people tend
>> to interpret published financial data to suit their bias and often make
>> the wrong decision when purchasing stocks, etc. The article I read even
>> had a section titled âConfirmation Bias Can Look Very Scientific..â Could
>> we be seeing confirmation bias affecting conclusions in coral and
>> climate science? Could it be happening because the best way to get
>> published (or obtain funding) is to interpret data so that it follows
>> the popular climate change and ocean acidification paradigm? Follow the
>> money? Or is it promotions and or tenure? Just wondering. 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
>> Tel 727 553-1158
>> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
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