[Coral-List] What can scientists do: ARE YOU READY?

shashank Keshavmurthy iamshanky15 at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 10 19:24:26 EST 2008

Hello ListersI agree with Sarah viewpoint....
>From past couple of weeks I have been enjoying the discussion on this list on "What Scientists Can Do?"
We do research, write papers, always trying to get funding for future research (this depends on the number of papers that we publish and their impact factors), the same applies when we apply for a job as well...

The irony is that at the speed in which coral reefs are disappearing, we still want some publications to come out of it, we still want to do some projects, we still want to get coral samples and do whatever we are doing........and we know that the research that we are doing and with all those resulting publications, the status of  coral  reefs are not going to change (I am aware that there are researchers on the on the other side of this aspect, those researchers who are trying to find solutions to save corals (transplantation, coral propagation etc.) until and unless the results of our research is applied to the field and is made use by stakeholders at the grassroots level.  

Let me tell you all a story of a small atoll in West Indian coast of Laccadives Island (this was when I used to work there on the research project 5 years ago)

Each atoll is managed by a government body called "Laccadives".....All the people working here are locals.  Their work is to take tourists around the reef (glass bottom boats, snorkelling and sometimes diving).....
I particularly want to mention 2 persons here, P. Koya and Shaukat Ali....they are not scientists, they have not got any phD degree, they are not bothered in publishing any papers...but they were and are more efficient than many of us here in looking after the coral reef, making tourists aware of the fact that corals are important and how climate change and behaviour of people are affecting corals.  The beaches of atoll are plastic free, trash free, these two people used to give a small awareness talk to tourists before they even started their adventure on the atoll.......
This is how habitats can be saved, people taking action at grassroots level, and we scientists as a knowledge base need to become more and more involved with such people, make them aware of new developments and help them to manage their own reefs.

On such Islands, where scientific resources are very less the only way to make a difference is by practicing right methods.

Looking at the nature of work that I was doing then, I was always being asked..."How your research will help save the corals and coral reefs?"...by those two people....

That question still haunts me...and I have to admit here that it will just help me to get a degree, publish more papers, get a job, then publish more papers, write proposals for grants, do more research...and one fine day...and I pray that day will never come...I will be left with nothing to do my research on!!

Every one of us should ask the above question to ourselves.................

I am not saying that we all should stop research......that is not the solution.....but we all need to give some of our time to work with the stakeholders, help them in their job of making themselves and those numerous tourists that visit their islands to become aware of the need of better practices.

We need to stop what we are doing now...but need to change the way we look at things, incorporate new awareness in ourselves and become involved at grassroots level.....

I hope I can do this....

I also again emphasize here about the importance of aquarists..........before the aquarium business was just means of entertaining people, of the colorful reef inhabitants...but now...it is one of the solutions to learn methods of coral propagation....

(I know there are many scientists and researchers here on the list who do not care much about publications, their impact factors and etc....and still involved in coral reef conservation....and it will be nice if this number increases)

Just a thought from my side...

"Role of Infinitely Small in Nature is Infinitely Large" - Louis Pasteur
Keshavmurthy Shashank
Research Student, Graduate School of Kuroshio Science
Laboratory of Environmental Conservation
Kochi University, Monobe Campus, B 200
Nankoku, Kochi, 783-8502, Japan
Mobile: 81 08039253889
My WebPage: http://web.mac.com/coralresearch/iWeb/shashank/Welcome.html

Never miss a thing.  Make Yahoo your home page. 

More information about the Coral-List mailing list