[Coral-List] Competition and resilience on reefs in 1925

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Fri Apr 26 20:28:56 UTC 2019


Well done. I have been going through and on-and-off exercise tracking the
editorials in Nature regarding Darwin's "Coral Reef Problem". I fist got
interested when I tried to track down the original series of "articles"
written by the primary opponents (Daly, Gieke, Dana, WM Davis plus many
more). My goal was to provide better context for myself as we ponder issues
related to reefs trying to keep up with accelerating sea-level rise.

I had noticed that most of these were in the same (or closely spaced)
volume number of Nature and I presumed that this was a "special issue" on
the topic - as is often done today. What I found was that each of these
"articles' was, in fact, a letter to the editor over a period of several
months. I found it exciting and illuminating to see the arguments and
counter-arguments develop, but what I eventually found most intriguing was
the dynamic involved - all the authors reading the latest issue of Nature
and someone penning a response. I could imagine Dana sitting in his alcove
across from the editorial office, penning hiscounter-argument and running
it across the street for the next publication round. In effect, the
participants were carrying on a dialogue in what might be thought of as a
19th century coral-listserve". Going back to an early series of posts on
scholarship, I would hope that those advocating the citation of only the
latest papers on a particular topic might see the inestimable value of
providing historical context for all of our "new" ideas.



On Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 2:56 PM Lasker, Howard via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> In searching for references to hurricane damage I discovered:
> By Charles Hedley, Scientific Director of the Great Barrier Reef
> Investigations.
> 1925  Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Commission 1:25-40
> The following quote from Hedley's report should remind us that many of
> our ideas are not as new as we tend to think.
>     "The seaweeds and coral are antithetical to each other, the
>     weeds making the ground foul for coral by leaving to the corals
>     no clean gritty surface to perch upon, so that the coral will be
>     unable to regain this site while the weeds are in possession of it.
>     But the cycle will run its course; when the algal complex now in
>     possession dies down the corals will resume their heritage, as one
>     crop follows another. "
> You can find the article at
> https://ia800707.us.archive.org/25/items/reportsgreatbarigrea/reportsgreatbarigrea_bw.pdf
> Cheers,
> --
> Howard R. Lasker
>     Director, Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
>     Professor, Department of Environment and Sustainability, Department of
> Geology
> Website: http://www.geology.buffalo.edu/people/faculty/lasker.shtml
> Graduate Program website: http://evolutionecologybehavior.buffalo.edu/
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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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