transplanting Acropora cytherea to MHI
steve at rfx.rfx.com
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 :>.
(Very busy right now, but appreciates any input for the book).
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