Acropora spp. - Candidates for Endangered Species List

Sean Lyman sjl3 at
Mon Feb 22 11:02:24 EST 1999

Good morning:

The CORALations folks bring up a good point about classification of the
entire coral reef system as endangered, but I think it's a mistake to so
quickly dismiss listing of a single species.  I do not disagree with
their points, but I do think that listing and protection of a single
species can be useful.

Doing what is necessary to protect a single species (or genus) or coral
is going to have a positive effect on the entire system, something I've
heard referred to as an "umbrella" of protection.  The Endangered Species
Act in the US certainly has problems, but the listing and protection of
charismatic megafauna has often had trickle-down effects on
equally-endangered ecosystems in which they live.

I think that we are a long way from the political power to implement an
endangered communities act, and therefore should not be shy about using
the tools at our disposal.  Declaring Acropora as endangered will
increase awareness about the decline of the coral reef ecosystems, and
steps taken to protect Acropora will most likely benefit at least other
corals and at best the entire system.



Sean J. Lyman
Duke University Marine Laboratory          sjl3 at
135 Duke Marine Lab Road                   sean.lyman at
Beaufort, NC  28516  USA

Phone:  (252) 504-7565
Fax:    (252) 504-7648

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