Reefs at Risk continued

Steven Miller smiller at
Thu Jul 9 15:53:24 EDT 1998

Recent discussions about what can be done to “help” coral reefs
produced, in my view, many interesting and helpful suggestions.  

I think that it is relevant to post NURC/UNCW's research priorities (see
below) for
1999 (proposals are due mid-August) and to make a funding plea to those
people in power at NGOs, foundations, or other philanthropic
organizations.   What can you do to help "reefs at risk?"  Support a
world-class coral reef research program - the largest in the U.S.  All
projects are independently peer reviewed using nationally recognized,
NSF-style, procedures.  

It may be unorthodox to use the list-server in this
manner, but we seek outside funding to get more money directly into the
hands of the best scientists to conduct nationally relevant research. 
For your
information, scientists working with our program receive, at no cost,
access to our shore-based facility (accommodations and laboratories) and
complete diving support; including boats, divemaster/captain, and air
and nitrox.  Additionally, we provide funding support that averages
about $15,000 per project, which means the overall scope of projects

I apologize if this "advertisement" or "request" is offensive to anyone
the list.  Our research priorities follow.

Regional research priorities, as part of the annual research
announcement by NOAA's National Undersea Research Center at the
of North Carolina at Wilmington, in Florida for 1999 include, but are
not limited to, the following areas:

1.  Marine Reserves and other protected areas in the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary:  Research and innovative monitoring programs
are sought to help identify natural and human-caused changes to coral
reefs and nearshore ecosystems in Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs)
and the Ecological Reserve (ER).  SPAs and the ER are managed as
“no-take” zones, and changes over time and comparisons with reference
areas will be evaluated in the year 2002, when the Sanctuary’s entire
management plan is formally reviewed by State and Federal officials. 
Traditional monitoring programs are underway for coral community
structure, fishes, and some large invertebrate species (specifically;
conch and lobster).

2.  Nutrient enrichment in the coastal ocean: This initiative addresses
how nutrients (natural and especially sewage- and stormwater-derived)
reach coastal waters and seafloor habitats, and their subsequent impacts
on coastal ecosystems relative to natural sources of nutrient supply
(such as tidal exchange and upwelling).  Questions about water quality
are among the most controversial topics related to evaluating the
condition of coral reefs in Florida, and elsewhere.  Large-scale
(spatially throughout the Keys on a quarterly basis, and more frequently
for Florida Bay) water quality monitoring on a quarterly basis is
underway as part of the Sanctuary and EPA water quality protection

3.  Recruitment processes: Programs are sought that emphasize
economically valuable fisheries, factors that control the survival and
growth of early life stages (especially for corals), and evaluation of
management options (for example, placement and size of reserves) that
rely on recruitment success.  Under this topic two specific initiatives

     a.  Determination and documentation of spawning events within the
     b.  Identification of factors that affect recruitment of conch,
lobster and corals within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary;
including, limits to spawning, reproductive behavior, larval supply,
habitat limitation, post-settlement processes and sources of recruits. 
Interventions that facilitate and accelerate regeneration or restoration
are high priority (as are experiments to advance knowledge leading to
methodologies for regeneration or restoration).

Additional information is available at:

Or contact:

Dr. Steven Miller
Associate Director, Florida Program
NURC/UNC at Wilmington

SMiller at

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