The Chemistry of Coral Reefs Draft #2

This topic submitted by Jennifer Guard ( uscgirl06@yahoo.com) at 2:16 AM on 6/12/04.

The views are spectacular at the wall break, 25 m deep, San Salvador, Bahamas.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University


The most important aspect of coral reefs and any body of water is its chemistry. Knowing about how the carbon and other cycles in the ocean work can help people to better understand the biological processes. The chemicals and nutrients in the water can help or hinder the growth of marine life. So I will be teaching the class about the chemistry of coral reefs and the oceans. I feel this topic is essential in understanding any of the processes occurring in the oceans.

I. Introduction
A. Why is it important to know the chemistry?
1. Relates to the other processes
2. It explains a lot of biological processes
B. Why you benefit from understanding the chemistry
1. Better understand the other processes
C. Chemistry linked to?
1. Biology, geology, and physics

II. Cycles in the Ocean
A. Carbon
1. Carbon dioxide
2. Used as tracers
3. Organisms tests
B. Oxygen
1. As related to the carbon
2. Redfield ratio
C. Sodium and Chloride
1. Residence time
2. Uses in biological processes?
D. Silicates and Nitrates
1. Organisms tests
2. Symbioses
E. Nutrients
1. Limiting and why
F. Trace Elements
1. What can they tell us?
G. Others?

III. Chemistry of the Oceans
A. What makes up the oceans?
1. Nutrients and Chemicals
2. Restate cycles
B. Limiting nutrients and chemicals?
1. Nitrogen and Phosphorus
2. Redfield Ratio
C. Excess chemicals and nutrients?
1. Chemicals with long residence times

IV. Chemistry of Coral Reefs
A. What makes up the corals?
1. Aragonite
2. Bands of age
B. Limiting nutrients and chemicals?
1. Need for them
C. Excess chemicals and nutrients?

Resources:
Davidson, Osha Gray. The Enchanted Braid. 1998. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. Pp. 16-7,50- 80.
Druffel, Ellen R. M. Geochemistry of corals: Proxies of past ocean chemistry,
ocean circulation, and climate. August 1997. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 94 (16), 8354-8361.
Kawahata, H., Suzuki, A. and Goto, K. Coral reef ecosystems as a source of atmospheric CO2:
evidence from PCO2 measurements of surface waters. 1997. Coral Reefs. 16, Pp. 261-266.
Marubini, F. and Atkinson, M. J. Effects of lowered pH and elevated nitrate on coral
calcification. 1999. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 188, Pp. 117-121.
Pilson, Michael. E. Q. An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Sea. 1998. Prentice Hall, New
Jersey. Pp. 102-258.
Shaw, Timothy. Lecture Notes. 2004. University of South Carolina.



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