Acropora spp. - Candidates for Endangered Species List

Causey, B. bcausey at
Tue Feb 23 11:32:39 EST 1999

Some food for thought:
Although I am supportive of listing Acropora spp for all the reasons that have been discussed over the past week or so, I too have some comments.  The only reason I mention this here is that a few of the comments such as the one from Sean raise some good points about a community approach to protection.

Due to the wide range of threats and many issues facing South Florida, EPA and the USFWS have been developing a Multi-species Recovery Plan instead of using the ESA in a species by species approach.  We have in the neighborhood of 82 species of threatened or endangered species and the USFWS has produced a draft plan to comprehensively look at the problems.

I agree that we should move forward with this listing of Acropora spp to heighten the protection, thus the awareness that there is a serious problem throughout the range of this genus in the Atlantic and Caribbean, but realize that a long-range goal of a multi=species approach should be kept in mind.  Cheers, Billy Causey
Cc: Coral-List
From: Sean Lyman on Tue, Feb 23, 1999 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: Acropora spp. - Candidates for Endangered Species List
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Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 11:02:24 -0500 (EST)
From: Sean Lyman <sjl3 at>
To: CORALations <corals at>
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Subject: Re: Acropora spp. - Candidates for Endangered Species List
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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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