[Coral-List] New paper on coral bleaching in, Science

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Thu Jan 11 13:26:17 EST 2018

Difficult  to keep silent while this issue is raging on the list. In the 
early 1960s I transplanted /A. cervicornis/. (staghorn coral). I wanted 
to learn why it did not grow near shore. The colony I placed near shore 
grew as fast as the colonies offshore until summer. During the summer 
the near shore colony bleached (the term bleaching had not yet been 
invented). That colonies growth rate came to a halt but it did not die. 
When water temperature cooled in the fall color returned, as did 
growth.  Then in February near shore water temp dropped to 13 degrees C 
and the colony died. The control corals offshore did not die but did 
initiate new branches and growth rate slowed slightly. There were few 
people in the Keys at that time so it is difficult to blame shore based 
In recent years we did C14 dating of dead staghorn sticks excavated from 
back reef sands in 39 locations. Dates ranged from present to 6,000 ybp. 
Interestingly there was a 500-year absence of this species centered at 
4,500 ybp. And another 500 year gap at 3,000 ybp. It is even more 
difficult to attribute local stressors for absence/death that far back. 
Just something to consider when worrying about transplanting. It is 
curious that this species seems to grow well when suspended on 
underwater clotheslines up from the bottom. I wonder how long CO2 levels 
will remain high if all anthropogenic sources were halted tomorrow? Gene

Shinn, E.A., 1966, Coral growth rate, an environmental indicator: 
Journal of Paleontology, v. 40, no. 2, p. 233-240

Shinn, E.A., Reich, C.D., Hickey, T.D., and Lidz, B.H., 2003, Staghorn 
tempestites in the Florida Keys: Coral Reefs, v. 22, p. 91-97.


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
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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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