[Coral-List] The GBR is in trouble, but not dead

Glynn, Peter W. pglynn at rsmas.miami.edu
Sat Mar 25 11:17:38 EDT 2017

Hey Douglas, be careful with your analogies.  The critical elements of an actively accreting coral reef are the living carbonate-producing corals, algae, bryozoans, molluscs, etc.  Metazoan tissues produce exoskeletons, endoskeletons (bones and teeth), which contribute importantly to the survivorship of innumerable species.  Are these alive?  And then the dead carbonate materials (not really dead re the rich endolithic communities), contributing to the bricks and mortar of reef structures, are important as elevated substrates in sustaining continued reef accretion.  Cheers, PWGlynn

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Douglas Fenner
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2017 8:16 PM
To: Chris Perry
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] The GBR is in trouble, but not dead

And that takes me back to my point, that reefs (Calcium buildups) are not alive.  Can a piece of basalt or granite be "senile"?  A better analogy than granite would be a stalactite.  As water carrying super saturated
CaCO3 percolates down though cracks in rocks above a cave, it runs in tiny trickles down the sides of stalactites and CaCO3 precipitates on it and adds to the formation.  So the stalactite gets larger and people may say it "grows."  But it is not alive, "grows" is only an analogy.  Water stops in drought, stalactite no longer gets larger.  Is it "senile"?  Did it just "die"?  If new water comes that is pure rainwater, it will start to dissolve the stalactite, which will get smaller.  Is it "dying"?  No.  You can't die if you're not alive.  You can't be "senile" unless you are alive.  Rocks aren't senile, they don't die.  Living organisms die, inanimate objects don't.  Can granite get up and dance?  Reproduce?  I don't think so, and these terms are misleading, especially to those who don't realize the difference.

    Cheers,  Doug

On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 2:30 AM, Chris Perry <chris.t.perry at gmail.com>

> Hi, I rarely dip my toe into this forum, but just to add that I think 
> many reef geomorphologists quite like the term senile to describe such 
> situations of reefs ceasing to accrete (or senescent is favoured by 
> some - and has been suggested to me by some reviewers). It is, 
> however, also worth saying that this term was actually first (as far 
> as I know) used back in the early 1980's by David Hopley in his 
> classic book on the GBR - this in the context of describing the 
> evolutionary states of GBR reefs ... so it is a term now well grounded in the literature.
> Cheers
> Chris
> Geography,
> Amory Building,
> University of Exeter ,
> Exeter, EX4 4RJ
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:51:38 -0400
> From: Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
> Subject: [Coral-List] he GBR is in trouble, but not dead
> To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <ec30b25d-bb3f-2803-c2bc-616e206e92b8 at mail.usf.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> Ellen Prager points out a significant problem when dealing with the 
> press.If you are not careful you can easily get burned by an over 
> zealous environmental writer and headline writer. She rightly makes 
> the point that headlines for a story are often written by specialist 
> other than the writer who wrote the story. The headline is written to 
> grab the attention of the reader. Remember they are also in the 
> business of selling newspapers and as the reader knows, readership is 
> suffering and newspapers are going out of business almost daily. Some 
> years ago I was badly burned by some lurid headlines. At that time 
> writers received extra cash if the Associated Press picks up their 
> story and passes it on to other newspapers.Each paper that picked up 
> my story about the effect of sewage nutrients on coral reefs created 
> ever more eye-catching headlines. ?Sewage killing reefs scientist 
> says.? The results were unhappy calls from dive shop owners in the 
> keys whose dive trips were being cancelled because clients did not 
> want to dive in poop. It was most embarrassing.
> Reef researchers have for years wrestled with how to define reefs.
> Biologists and geologists see reefs differently and the average reader 
> can become confused by terms like bioherm, biostrome, or even live rock.
> Remember when that big tanker grounded on ?Bligh Reef? in Cook inlet 
> Alaska? So-called Bligh reef is simply a submerged mountaintop. It is 
> not a reef but the confusion affected people in the Florida Keys who 
> did not know the difference. Even sandbars have been called reefs. In 
> fact anything that a ship can ground on is often called a reef. It?s 
> just maritime lore.
> We discuss this problem in detail in our upcoming book, ?Geology of 
> the Florida Keys,? coauthored by Barbara Lidz. In the book we invented 
> a term for dead or almost dead reefs originally used by Lidz in her 
> extensive USGS review of Florida Keys Geology, 
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__pubs.usgs.gov_pp_
> 2007_1751&d=DwICAg&c=y2w-uYmhgFWijp_IQN0DhA&r=izF0ZGZLWfB0CrZqGu7NKfUj
> NAac58zgy7ti2gnUCFQ&m=GQPnu0niaEWHKlrJwj4UGj3SHl0_8LSqOfYMx5l9aP4&s=3e
> WP0ktRNUvPavS9KIqBMJzKwtl53Y0bsdjy1sIE6V4&e= > For lack of a better 
> term we called reefs no longer growing ?senile reefs.? We can?t 
> predict what a news writer might do with that term but we could not 
> think of anything better at the time. As many readers know, Florida 
> reefs are indeed suffering senility. Hopefully most will recover their 
> former vitality. It will be interesting to see what a news writer 
> might do with those terms, or for that matter, readers of the 
> coral-list. Lets see, ?Reefs in the keys can?t think straight? or 
> ?they forget who they are.? Gene 
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Douglas Fenner
Contractor for NOAA NMFS, and consultant "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.  Coral Reefs is the only journal that is ALL coral reef articles, and it has amazingly LOW prices compared to other journals.  Check it out!  www.fit.edu/isrs/

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