[Complete the questions below prior to the broadcasts, if at all possible]
1. Why is sunlight important to reef growth?
Reefs need sunlight
because they are living--they have algae on them which is a plant and
plants need sunlight to live. The algae provides the food for the various
species living on the reef. If the water becomes too deep through an
influx of water for the sunlight to penetrate, we say the reef is dying.
What actually is happening is that the algae dies and thus the food
chain is interrupted at its base. This is important because a drowned
reef is an indication of sea level rise and that is what we are looking
for in attempting to prove our hypothesis of sea level change in the
last 15 million years.
2. Are there reefs in
the Gulf of Mexico?
Yes, there are reefs in the Gulf of Mexico; they are the Flower
Garden Banks about 90 miles off Freeport, Texas. These are deeper reefs
than most of those off Florida, but they are quite spectacular. The
site is declared a National Marine Sanctuary which means it is protected
like a National Park; teachers and students may obtain information about
these from the National Marine Sanctuary Office in Bryan. Also, you
can visit the National Marine Sanctuaries web site at http://www.sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/
or contact Shelley Dupuy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
She is the education coordinator for the Flower Garden Banks. The National
Marine Sanctuaries are under NOAA.