transplanting Acropora cytherea to MHI

Steve Tyree steve at
Sat Feb 24 02:20:57 EST 1996

 Coral Reef List, 

 You have brought up a particular subject which I think will 
become extremely important to the ecosystems of the planet. 
I think its a given that human interaction has changed the 
shape of ecosystems of the planet. In some cases completely 
obliterating them. This human trait though is not restricted 
to our species in particular. Every species on the planet has 
its own survival at the top of its agenda list, well besides 
reproduction maybe :>. The blooming algae could care less that 
it may wiped out a local acropora population, in fact it pro- 
bably is not even coherent of the fact. We as humans though 
do have that capability of recognizing dynamic changes in eco- 
system populations. This leads to a great debate about what 
should WE in particular do. Should we leave the ecosystems 
alone and let them try to recover to some subjective state or 
should we try to manage them somewhat. I dont agree that any- 
thing we do is not natural. We are a product of mother nature. 
We evolved here. If mother nature thinks we should not be  
here, we will disappear. So we are no more guilty than the 
theoritical algae was that just wanted to bloom. We are different 
from that algae in our ability to recognize that our blooming 
has an affect on other species. So now, mother nature has  
created a species that has the ability to direct the dynamic 
changes that our occuring to species populations. I say that 
the trait was a desired one or one selectively choosen for. 
If you realize the ultimate fate of this planet, the reason 
behind the trait becomes quite clear :>. 

 Dont get me wrong, I am not condoning the wholesale management 
of ecosystem populations. Just that a two pronged approach 
is probably the best bet. One that combines niche ecosystem 
preservation with management of species. Any coral reef in 
particular could do with a human reef manager or two. One 
excellent job would be righting and recementing large old 
coral colonies that have been toppled by storm surge or wind 
driven currents. Some recent dives on the Solomon Islands 
found many large Acropora tables that had been toppled or 
knocked down in an avalanch. Many stony coral colonies be- 
come loose from the substratum because of boring organism 
activity. What would be wrong with recementing or fortifying 
their base. Many coral fragments get broken off corals and end 
up in piles where little light penetrates. These could be 
recemented onto newly added platforms or older existing ones. 

 I am currently writing a non-academic book centered on reef- 
building stony coral that will include lots of research from 
academic works. This above debate will sort of be an under- 
lying theme and one of the reasons I am writing the book. So 
any input will be highly desorable. The thread is already on 
my hard disk :>. Sorry for the poorly edited text, I am work- 
ing with a poor internet connection. I highly recommend 
reading the recent book by Veron titled "Corals in Space and 
Time, The Biogeography and Evolution of the Scleractinia". 
One interesting point is that what we see currently as species 
distribution, is only a small slice in time of the long geo- 
logical distribution of these corals. Also, there appear to 
be some interesting aspects of coral species distribution 
over time, that make the whole subjective species concept, 
somewhat tainted :>. 

 Steve Tyree 
 Dynamic Ecomorphology 
 (Very busy right now, but appreciates any input for the book). 

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