[Coral-List] Evidence that ocean warming has caused most Caribbean, coral loss

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Fri May 5 10:31:40 EDT 2017

The warming oceans discussions have certainly been interesting and diverse.

I like ULfs “umbrella research” approach to the ocean pollution problem 
as it relates to coral reefs and covers most everything. We had that 
approach in mind (we didn’t call it that) at least 20 years ago when we 
proposed that Caribbean-wide marine diseases and coral die-offs were 
somehow related to the increasing flux of African dust. All the 
individual pollutants environmental researchers have recognized are 
contained in the millions of tons of soil dust that blow over from 
northern Africa and shower down on vast areas of the Atlantic each year. 
A high school student recently performed a simple award winning 
experiment. She added three different quantities of that dust to three 
different aquaria containing /Acropora cervicornis/ and all three 
concentrations caused death in two days. Corals in the control aquarium 
remained healthy. It’s called /a proof of concept experiment./ Most good 
scientists of course would like to know exactly which of the thousands 
of ingredients in the dust caused the corals to die. I certainly would. 
Unfortunately the list of ingredients is so long it would require many 
years and millions of dollars to isolate and determine the toxicity of 
all the individual components. And like Ulf says it may require a 
combination of several to have an effect. So what is in the dust? We can 
start with the Periodic table. Most everything on the Periodic table is 
likely present in varying amounts. For sure we know there is Mercury, 
Arsenic, Phosphorous, Copper, Silica, Iron, Aluminum, Beryllium, 
Beryllium 7, Lead, Lead 210, Calcium, Uranium and on and on. Mixed in 
are the man-made organic chemical pesticides including DDT, (they still 
use it in Africa) and don’t forget the Bacteria and Fungal spores (about 
200 have been cultured and identified and some (even after all those 
years) have been cultured from the African dust Darwin collected form 
the deck of the Beagle around 1838. There are even shriveled up Rotifers 
(put some of the dust in a glass of fresh water and pretty soon you will 
see them swimming around) and of course there are viruses. Who knows how 
many but certainly they far outnumber the microbes. It would take many 
years of research and even more money to identify the viruses and don’t 
forget the recently discovered microbes that live permanently in the 
atmosphere but shower down when it rains. So for now, I think we will 
just have to be content with more high school experiments to proved Ulfs 
Umbrella research hypothesis and we haven’t even touched on sewage and 
Oxybenzone. Now add it all to a warming ocean and we have plenty to 
think about. 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
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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