Marine geologist and oceanographer André Droxler knows Charles Darwin’s theory about atolls is incorrect. But Droxler, who’s studied coral reefs for more than 40 years, understands why Darwin’s model persists in textbooks, university lecture halls, natural science museums and Wikipedia entries.
“It’s so beautiful, so simple and pleasing that everybody still teaches it,” said Droxler, who recently retired from Rice University. “Every introductory book you can find in Earth science and marine science still has Darwin’s model. If they teach one thing about reefs or carbonates in marine science 101, they teach that model.”
Droxler, a professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences at Rice for 33 years, is hoping to set the record straight with a 37-page, tour de force paper about the origins of atolls. Published this month in the Annual Review of Marine Science, the paper was co-authored by Droxler and longtime collaborator Stéphan Jorry, a