[Coral-List] increasing alkalinity on a reef increases calcification

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Thu Feb 25 10:42:00 EST 2016

Thanks Doug:

I just saw an excellent presentation on this experiment at the Ocean
Sciences Meeting - great stuff. At the same time, I sat in the
calcification session for the entire day and was struck by two things. The
first is that many folks are not aware of the careful studies that have
shown how corals, through ion pumping, are largely "masters of their own
universe". This is a  costly affair, but absent other stresses that require
energy expenditure (admittedly few.... and decreasing), they have plenty of
energy reserves to cope. One presentation that actually looked at this
reported no change in pH within the calcification space at seawater
equivalents to ca 1000 ppm atmospheric CO2 levels. Having said this, where
reef flats are heavily dominated by corallines, this does become an issue
as they apparently do not have the ion-pumping option (as I remember the
presentation, this was one of those reefs).

The other interesting thing was that two studies looking at sediment
dissolution reported "negative dissolution" (which I take to mean
"calcification" - good science-speak). When I asked whether I was
interpreting this correctly, I was told that I was. There were a number of
papers on these themes.

I'm certainly not arguing that this says the "gloom and doom" about
acidification and either "reef health" or accretionary capacity are
unwarranted. However, it does seem to me that the issue is much more
complicated than we often make it when we discuss it in fora like this one.
Clearly, there are plenty of really bad anthropogenically-driven processes
to go around. But, if what I heard in this excellent session is actually
the case, then we might want to stop and think about triage. We are way too
short on both physical and intellectual capital to spend huge efforts
trying to fix things that either aren't broken.... or we can't fix.... or
perhaps we shouldn't. I do find myself wondering these days whether the
greater hubris lies in our initial ideas that "the world is here for us" or
our recent assumptions that "we can fix it". I know that this is a gross
oversimplification - and don't mean to even imply that we shouldn't be
looking for good management strategies, but I still think that we have to
start considering our limit resources and to focus on separating what we
can do from what we can't..... or shoudn't prioritize. I'm guessing this
won't be a popular sentiment among the usual responders here, but I'm far
enough along to have seen a lot of effort put into good and noble endeavors
that make us feel godd with little result.



On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 3:11 PM, Douglas Fenner <
douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:

> Coral reefs: turning back time.
> An *in situ* experiment finds that reducing the acidity of the seawater
> surrounding a natural coral reef significantly increases reef
> calcification, suggesting that ocean acidification may already be slowing
> coral growth.
> http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature17302.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20160225&spMailingID=50771961&spUserID=MjA1NTA3MjA0OQS2&spJobID=863026682&spReportId=ODYzMDI2NjgyS0#author-information
> click on "author information"
> Reversal of ocean acidification enhances net coral reef calcification.
> A manipulative experiment in which a reef is alkalinized *in situ* shows
> that calcification rates are likely to be lower already than they were in
> pre-industrial times because of acidification.
> http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature17155.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20160225&spMailingID=50771961&spUserID=MjA1NTA3MjA0OQS2&spJobID=863026682&spReportId=ODYzMDI2NjgyS0
> click on "author information"
> Cheers,  Doug
> --
> Douglas Fenner
> Consultant, corals, coral reefs, coral identification
> "have regulator, will travel"
> PO Box 7390
> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA
> phone 1 684 622-7084
> Join the International Society for Reef Studies.  Membership includes a
> subscription to the journal Coral Reefs, and there are discounts for pdf
> subscriptions and developing countries.  Check it out!  www.fit.edu/isrs/
> "Belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."- Jim Beever.
>   "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts."-
> Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
> Sea level is now rising at the fastest rate in 3,000 years.
> http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/02/sea-levels-are-rising-their-fastest-rate-2000-years?utm_campaign=email-news-latest&et_rid=17045989&et_cid=292592
> http://mashable.com/2016/02/22/manmade-sea-level-rise-flooding/#fscPLGedCiqz
> January 2016 was the hottest January since records began in 1880.  The
> arctic was hottest by far.  This is the 9th straight monthly record heat.
>  (hiatus where art thou?)
> https://www.yahoo.com/news/january-2016-hottest-since-records-began-us-agency-212230867.html
> Miami is flooding: "The Siege of Miami, as temperatures rise, so will sea
> levels."  Sea level rising an inch a year there.
> http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/21/the-siege-of-miami
> website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner
> blog: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/reefs-american-samoa-story-hope
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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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