Ecological persistence interrupted in Caribbean coral reefs
John M. Pandolfi &Jeremy B.C. Jackson 2006 in Ecology Letters. The recent mass mortality of Caribbean reef corals dramatically altered reef community structure and begs the question of the past stability and persistence of coral assemblages before human disturbance began. We report within habitat stability in coral community composition in the Pleistocene fossil record of Barbados for at least 95 000 years despite marked variability in global sea level and climate. Results were consistent for surveys of both common and rare taxa. Comparison of Pleistocene and modern community structure shows that Recent human impacts have changed coral community structure in ways not observed in the preceding 220 000 years.
Zonation of uplifted pleistocene coral reefs on Barbados, West Indies
Mesolella KJ. Science. 1967 May 5;156(3775):638-40.
Abstract: The coral species composition of uplifted Pleistocene reefs on Barbados is very similar to Recent West Indian reefs. Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis, and Montastrea annularis are qtuantitatively the most important of the coral species.
Late Quaternary folding of coral reef terraces, Barbados
Frederick W. Taylor and Paul Mann
“Coral reefs on Barbados range in age and elevation from ca. 1 Ma terrace at an elevation of about 330 m along the southern edge of the Scotland District to the living fringing reef slightly below sea level…Each step of the staircase of reef terraces on Barbados formed as a level surface during relatively short periods of reef growth at major Quaternary highstands of sea level. Reefs formed during lowstands or periods of rapidly changing sea level are buried by highstand reefs. Bender et al. (1979) hâve defined 23 morphostratigraphic units that represent coral reef
deposits associated with —14 discrete sea-level highstands.
“The two most prominent terraces of Barbados are First and Second High Cliff (Fig. 3). First High Cliff extends for about 60 km, has up to 25 m of topographic relief, and is predominately a constructional reef terrace built during the last interglacial, between about 122 aiid 130 ka (Edwards et al., 1987). The morphostratigraphic reef forming First High Cliff was informally designated as Rendezvous Hill by Bender et al. (1979). Less well developed reef terraces that rëeord less prominent highstands of sea level at ca. 82 and 105 ka crop out between First High Cliff and the present coastline (Mesolella et al., 1970).
“Second High Cliff is mappable for about 40 km and has up to 35 m of topographic relief, tut it is less continuous than First High Cliff. Its morphology has been modified by sea-level marine erosion during subséquent highstands. Isotopic ages from corals from Second High Cliff differ by about 100 ka (Bender et al., 1979).”
Submerged Reefs of Eastern Caribbean
Ian G. Macintyre AAPG Bulletin Volume: 56 (1972) p 720-728
Submerged early Holocene or late Pleistocene reefs up to 90 km long and with bottom relief commonly about 20 m were established in relation to preexisting lower sea levels on outer edges of terraces at 30-80-m depths off most islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Submerged reefs are far more impressive physiographic features than their modern counterparts and are in depths greater (below about 15-20 m) than those commonly associated with present reef-framework construction by hermatypic corals. Data from echo-sounder profiles, rock dredging, bottom photographs, and in situ observations indicate that off the Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, and the Grenadine Islands submerged reefs are dead and covered by only a few scattered living corals. Hermatypic corals below 15 m on these reefs cannot cope with skeletal destruction by boring organisms and cannot compete for substrate with other encrusting or attached organisms. Off the west coast of Barbados, however, reef-framework construction is still occurring below about 15 m. The age relations of these reefs are not known, but probably they are no older than late Pleistocene and started to grow no later than 8,000 years ago. Although the eastern Caribbean area is characterized by inner-shelf fringe reefs, the common occurrence of shelf-edge submerged reefs indicates that, during the latter stages of the Holocene transgression, reefs were generally adjacent to deep waters, as are modern Pacific barrier and atoll reefs.
Submerged coral reefs, west coast of Barbados, West Indies
IG Macintyre – Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 1967, 4(3): 461-474
Seven sonar profiles of the sea floor were made at 3–mile intervals approximately perpendicular to the west coast of Barbados, W.I. Evidence from these profiles, first-hand observations, and deep-sea camera photographs indicate that two submerged barrier reefs parallel the coast at approximate depths of 70 and 230 ft. A trench is present in a deeper part of the sloping sea floor behind a small ridge at an average depth of 619 ft.The positions of the submerged barrier reefs probably were controlled by pauses in the post-Pleistocene eustatic rise in sea level. The First Ridge was established on an erosional terrace that could have been cut during a stillstand between 12 500 and 11 500 years B.P. The Second Ridge may have been established on a narrow ledge eroded during a stillstand between 16 500 and 15 000 years B.P. The trench appears to have resulted from faulting or submarine outcropping of Tertiary sedimentary rocks.
Multi-stage reef development on Barbados during the Last Interglaciation
Paul Blanchon and Anton Eisenhauer. Quaternary Science Reviews 20 (2001) 1093}1112
Full paper available
The geology of Barbados: a field guide
STEPHEN K. DONOVAN (including a joint contribution with DAVID A.T. HARPER
Caribbean Journal of Earth Science, 38 (2005), 21-33.
GEOARCHAEOLOGY OF THE CAVES OF BARBADOS, WEST INDIES
Michael J. Lace et al. 2013 Journal of Caribbean Archaeology
Geology of Barbados: A Brief Account of the Island’s Origin and Its Major
Machel, H.G., 1999, Barbados Museum and Historical Society, The Garrison, St. Michael, Barbados, 52 p.
Pleistocene-Holocene Karstification of Barbados and its implications for the Devonian Grosmont reservoir
Hans MachelHans Machel et al., 2012. GeConvention 2012. “About 80% of the surface of Barbados is made up of Quaternary carbonates with ages approximately 800,000 years to recent. These carbonates are extensively overprinted by epigene (top-down) karst processes. Epigene karst features include various types of caves, solution valleys, and sinkholes. Flank margin caves are the most common cave type. Sinkhole density is high, with an average of 5 sinkholes per square km. However, some areas have a much higher density while others are almost devoid of sinkholes…” Nice overview map showing geological features of Barbados
Machel, H.G., 2009, Caves of Barbados – Wonders and dangers underground. The Barbados Advocate, March-01-2009, 33-40.
Machel, H.G., 2011, The geology of Barbados – a little paradise in its own right. In: Carrington, C.M.S. (ed.): Preserving Paradise. Barbados Museum and Historical Society, 13-51.
Travels in Geology: Barbados: Ascending the sea-level staircase
By Terri Cook and Lon Abbott on /www.earthmagazine.org/ December 7, 2011
Quaternary reef response to sea-level and environmental change in the western Atlantic
Eberhard Gischler in Sedimentology 16 October 2014…”Many reefs in the western Atlantic region kept pace with Holocene sea-level rise whereas some were drowned. Reasons for reef drowning are debated and include sea-level rise, elevation of antecedent topography, and deterioration of environmental conditions such as high nutrient input. Apart from sea-level and antecedent topography, factors such as exposure to waves and currents, storms, and sedimentation have controlled reef development. The historical decline of acroporid corals in the Caribbean realm has been attributed to cooling following the Holocene thermal optimum; however, historical die-offs of reef-building corals and other reef organisms suggest that some if not all recent declines were unprecedented during the Holocene. Rising temperatures, decreasing carbonate saturation, increased frequency of major storms, high nutrient concentrations and sedimentation, overfishing, and disease certainly played a role in decline, but systematic studies relating these environmental factors to Holocene reef-building are only in the early stages.”