transplanting Acropora cytherea to MHI (fwd)

JOSHUA Feingold joshua at
Wed Feb 21 11:34:21 EST 1996

On Tue, 20 Feb 1996, Ed Parnell wrote: 

snip ... 

> As you know, Acropora  
> is a hardy, fecund, fragmenting, and most important of all, a fast  
> growing species.  The lack of Holocene reef accretion in Hawaii could be  
> due to the  
> lack of just such a species.  Given the high energy, high disturbance  
> regime of Hawaii, pioneering and fast growth seem to be required for  
> resilience in the face of frequent disturbance.  Acropora fits this bill  
> in addition to being resistant to wave energy such as seen in the NWHI  
> where it is naturally common.  It just hasn't made its way to the MHI. 


> One could bring down parts of many colonies and transplant them to a  
> protected area such as Kaneohe Bay.  After they are established and begin  
> to reproduce locally, they become a local source of larvae for seeding  
> larger and larger areas of K Bay.  The planulae could be collected over  
> these reefs and in K Bay itself (since flushing rates are low).  These  
> larvae could then be artificially recruited in culture and grown for a  
> year (to miss hi juv. mort. rates) then transplanted to other areas of  
> Oahu.  Fragments of the K Bay colonies could also be transplanted to  
> other areas of Oahu. 
> These may be grandiose ideas but I think some discussion is warranted and at  
> least a transplanting pilot study should be done with A. cytherea here in  
> Hawaii.  What do you think?  Would there be resistance to this idea by  
> the public or reef scientists?  Have you already had this idea? 


I am amazed that you would consider the introduction of any species into  
the waters of Hawaii. Yes, A. cytherea may grow quickly and recruit to  
areas not yet populated with corals. It also may displace native corals  
and change the structural complexity of existing reef habitats. In  
general, species introductions are fraught with unexpected outcomes. Even  
if the transplanted species comes from a nearby region, A. cytherea is  
not native to the main Hawaiian archipelago. 

This idea exemplifies the conflict between wanting to mitigate  
anthropogenic diminution of reef systems and the desire to allow reefs to  
develop naturally (be that increase or decline). 

Joshua Feingold 
Nova Southeastern University 
joshua at 

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