A Possible Threat to the Marine Environment of Dominica

EricHugo at aol.com EricHugo at aol.com
Wed Jul 24 23:26:44 EDT 2002

Mary Lou, Alan, and list:

Having just returned from Dominica and doing surveys in the field and
speaking with staff, governing bodies, and visiting the facility with John
Fields and Andy Bruckner, I can assure interested parties that we will be in
communication with each other about this post and will make another post to
the list very soon. A report to the facility and to the Dominican government
is in progress.

It should be noted, however, that there is apparently an extensive amount
of"bad blood" between Mr. Lowe and the current interested parties.  The
Indo-Pacific corals that remain at the facility were scheduled to be
from Dominica, if they have not already been sent.  Those corals were also
separate systems from any Caribbean corals, all Dominican collected to our
knowledge, with no mixing of water to the other systems or the coastal area,
and there were no plans to continue any holding of I-P corals for any
in the future.

While our field surveys were not exhaustive, they were extensive around the
area, and we saw no evidence of I-P introductions, including flatworms.  C.
retrogramma was also not notably present in any of the systems, and we
examined many of the tanks closely, including substrates and corals. This
does not mean that they were not in the systems, nor does it mean
introduction of this organism, or any other, including microbes, has not
happened. But if any introductions have occurred, it would be nearly
impossible in my mind to assert responsibility to either Mr. Lowe's term
the facility or the current operating body.

The current owners and staff are eager to work with all appropriate bodies
its proper opertion, and I feel comfortable saying that all current and any
future efforts by that facility will hopefully address these issues of
concern.  We saw no evidence of any danger to the Dominican environment
resulting from the current operation of that facility, potential

Furthermore, we saw no evidence of any unique or special cloning procedure
that could be constured as advanced technology or proprietary, except
for the X-shape of the substrate used for fragment attachement.  The corals
present in the systems, including ones that were "cloned" during Mr. Lowe's
tenure, and being propagated were simply mechanically fragmented and affixed
to an artifical substrate using glue or ties for grow out - the same method
that thousands of aquarists use on a daily basis.

Eric Hugo Borneman

University of Houston
Department of Biology and Biochemistry
Division of Ecology and Evolution
Houston TX 77204
EBorneman at uh.edu
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