coral reefs doomed? Argh without refs

Mike Risk riskmj at
Tue Sep 11 15:45:39 EDT 2001

Hi Alina.

I always have an excuse for not doing homework. In this case, my wife =
(Jodie Smith) is in surgery, I am taking a break to do email, but have =
no intention of doing science for several days. (She's OK.)

The largest problem here, as you are no doubt aware, is that, after 30 =
years of using the same survey techniques: we have damn few long-term =
records. So every argument that land-based sources cause stress may be =
met with the counterargument, that you have no basis for concluding =
that. (No matter that it's a BS argument-in these days of embracing =
traditional knowledge, the one source we refuse to acknowledge is the =
memory banks of aging reef scientists...)

BUt here's a start. One of the best/worst places to see this is in SE =
Asia. Tom Tomascik has documented disappearance of whole reefs in Pulau =
Seribu (Thousand Islands), off Jakarta, within historical times-used old =
data sets from the days of Umgrove. His work has appeared  in various =
iterations, including his book, and the Ginsburg Miami volume. Edinger =
worked in several locations in Indonesia, with some of my other =
students-published 2000 (?), Mar Poll Bull, plus several other summary =
papers. The effect of a  combo of sediments and sewage ranges from a =
large drop in biodiversity and coral cover, to (most often) complete =
extirpation. It classifies as a regional mass extinction: he estimated a =
loss of (?) 40% of generic diversity of corals in the past 15 years. =
Climate change had zip to do with it.

Sri Lanka lost almost all of its reefs over the past decade...

If I feel like doing science in a few weeks, I'll get back to you. =

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