The 107-yr growth history of a massive coral Solenastrea bournoni from Florida Bay was reconstructed with X-ray imagery from a single 4 in. diameter (10 cm) core that penetrated the exact epicenter of the 95.3 cm high colony. Growth increments totalled 952.9 mm, averaging 8.9 mm/yr over the life of the coral. Growth rate trends in the Florida Bay coral were compared to those in a Montastraea annularis of similar age from a nearby patch reef on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Florida Keys. It was concluded that growth rate, at least in these specimens, is a questionable indicator of past hurricanes and freezes. There does appear to be, however, a possible cause-and-effect relationship between major man-induced environmental perturbations and a prolonged reduction in growth rate in each coral's growth record. -from Authors
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A 107-year-old coral from Florida Bay: barometer of natural and man- induced catastrophes?