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Coral Reefs and Their Problems. Introduction to Coral Reefs. Dynamic geomorphological and biological systems Can be more than one type of environment

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introduction to coral reefs
Introduction to Coral Reefs
  • Dynamic geomorphological and biological systems
    • Can be more than one type of environment
  • Best developed in the Indian Ocean and on the western margin of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – excluded from the upwelling of cold water on the eastern margins
  • Seawater temps rarely below 17-18° C or above 33-34° C
  • Prefer average salinities for seawater – hypersalinity limits them
  • Excess sedimentation is also a limitation – “smothers” the corals
    • High inputs of terrigenous sediment will limit their occurrence
    • For example, individual reefs along the Great Barrier Reef are not well developed with mainland rainfalls are high
  • At their latitudinal limits, biodiversity drops
    • In the Atlantic Ocean, the northern most reefs off Bermuda occur due to the Gulf Stream
african dust
African Dust
  • coincidental with the decline of Caribbean coral reefs over the past 25 years there has been a sharp increase in the transport of African dust to the western Atlantic.
  • can serve as a substrate for numerous species of viable spores, especially the soil fungus … Aspergillus sydowii, the cause of an ongoing Caribbean-wide seafan disease.
  • his fungus has been cultured from air samples taken during dustfalls in the Virgin Islands, but that spores of the fungus are absent when the air is clear