[Coral-List] What can SCIENTISTS do??

Paul Hoetjes - traveling phoetjes at gmail.com
Tue Dec 18 13:10:11 EST 2007

   I  think  an important area of research is the study of recovery after
   bleaching  and/or disease in human-impacted versus less human-impacted
   (remote)  areas (I don't think there are any places left that are free
   from direct human impact, with pollution spreading through all oceans.
   It  seems  almost arrogant to think so but I do believe us humans have
   achieved  the  unimaginable  feat  of  perceptibly altering all of the
   waters of our planet).
   Such  research could perhaps document and drive home the necessity (or
   not) to minimize local human impacts in the face of global changes, as
   well as provide us with a realistic prognosis of potential resilience.
   Research  into  the  fate  of  fish (and/or crustacean) populations in
   areas  where reefs have been left standing dead would also seem useful
   to feed management decisions.
   If  we are to lose all or most coral reefs, it might also be useful to
   look  more  closely  at  artificial  reef  options; their feasibility,
   longevity/sustainability,  as compared to dead natural reef structures
   left standing.
   The  few real reefs that survive the next generation of humans will be
   practically priceless (from a dive tourism point of view at least) and
   will  be  exploited  heavily,  possibly  leading  to  their subsequent
   demise,  if  we  don't  know  why  they survived and what is needed to
   ensure continued survival.
   Paul Hoetjes
   On 12/18/2007 11:50 AM, mikhail matz wrote:

I have a more specific question:
How can coral research help reef management and protection?

It is not as trivial as it seems. Most of our environmentally  
relevant studies thus far were directed at documenting coral reef  
decline. We don't have nearly as much data on the mechanisms of  
decline and very little if anything (hence my question) on the ways  
to counteract it on a local scale.

No doubt, documenting the worldwide decline of coral reefs is  
extremely important to raise public awareness, but now we're largely  
past this stage - Al Gore et al can take over from here. Public and  
politicians are already quite well aware of the problem, as the Peace  
Nobel indicated this year.  Surely much persuasion is still required  
to make the world take action - but this is not exactly our job as  
scientists. We won't be as useful there as the conservation  

For those of us who are scientists, our part of the problem is coral  
reef decline, our skill is research - so what can we do to help?  
While conservationists are struggling to convince the world to cut  
CO2 emissions, what can scientists do to help reefs survive - until  
the world listens? Looks like it may take a while...


Mikhail V. Matz
University of Texas at Austin
Integrative Biology Section
1 University station C0930
Austin, TX 78712
phone 512-992-8086 cell, 512-475-6424 lab
fax 512-471-3878
web [1]http://www.bio.utexas.edu/research/matz_lab

On Dec 17, 2007, at 1:27 PM, John Hocevar wrote:

[First, a pre-emptive note on restirctions about using this list for
lobbying - this message does not refer to specific legislation, so I'm
pretty sure this does not fit that definition for this purpose.]

There is much to be said for actions we can take as individuals,
and for
leading by example.  There is also a great deal of value in
clarifying some
of the research questions that relate to the interests and
expertise of
scientists on this list.  It is also clear that the urgency of the
facing our reefs, our oceans, and our planet from climate change and
acidification require action from policy makers.

Greater leadership is needed from this community, which both
better than most what is at stake.  Many of us are already active,
participation in lawsuits, testifying before congress, speaking to the
media, etc.  We can do more.

Action is required of us on an international, national, and local
The follow up meeting to the Kyoto talks just concluded in Bali,
where the
US Government was the biggest obstacle to progress.  (See
"Europeans Raise
Ante at Bali Climate Talks: U.S. Stance on Emissions Targets
Prompts Threat
to Boycott Bush Forum" in Friday's Washington Post for a summary.)
But as
Al Gore pointed out to delegates, the US position is almost certain to
change over the next two years.  And, in fact, it has already changed
significantly, with several climate bills currently being debated in
Congress that would have been non-starters just two years ago.  On
the local
level, some cities and states have chosen not to wait for
Washington to act,
and are setting targets for greenhouse gas reductions and renewable

If ever there was a time and an issue that scientists and
organizations needed to be working together to help communicate
what the
best available science tells us to policy makers and the broader
this is it.

At Greenpeace, our climate campaign now dwarfs all our other
efforts.  To
get plugged in, check out either of the websites below (or just
drop me a

Whether you are working with Greenpeace, another conservation
group, or on
your own, the most important thing is to do something.  Are your
representatives in your city, state, and country fully aware of
what is
happening and what it means?  Are there ways you can help inform
the current
rapidly growing debate?  Are there ways you can help inform voters
to make
smart choices?

John Hocevar
Greenpeace USA
512 454-6140
[4]jhocevar at greenpeace.org

Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:18:19 -0500
From: Judith Lang [5]<jlang at riposi.net>
Subject: [Coral-List] WHAT CAN WE DO??
To: [6]coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

Tom Williams raises an important question when he asks: "WHAT CAN WE
DO??," now that the risk from carbon emissions to coral reefs and
those who depend upon them for their livelihoods is receiving some
well-deserved publicity.

Here are a few suggestions for starters:
We CAN set a positive example for our neighbours and colleagues by
our daily choices of how much fossil fuel we consume, both directly
as a fuel and indirectly via our use of hot water, paper, plastic
bags, electronic trinkets, exotic foods, etc., etc.

We CAN minimize our long-distance work-related travel to that which
is really necessary to fulfill our research and educational needs or

Those of us with some discretionary income CAN spend some of it on
carbon-offset programs: for example, planting trees in the tropics
where they will grow year round which also helps nourish impoverished
soils, and provides food, fuel or income for poor communities.

Judy Lang

Begin forwarded message:

From: Tom Williams [7]<ctwiliams at yahoo.com>
Date: December 14, 2007 1:59:28 PM EST
To: Coral Listserver [8]<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Subject: [Coral-List] Fwd: Re: New Science Paper Says Carbon
Emissions [MORE THAN] THREATEN Coral Reefs

It appears to be FAR WORST than indicated in the
Subject Line Check the conclusions --- WHAT CAN WE

PARTIAL From Science
Science 14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp.
1737 ? 1742   DOI: 10.1126/science.1152509

Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean

O. Hoegh-Guldberg,1* P. J. Mumby,2 A. J. Hooten,3 R.
S. Steneck,4 P. Greenfield,5 E. Gomez,6 C. D.
Harvell,7 P. F. Sale,8 A. J. Edwards,9 K.,
Caldeira,10, N. Knowlton,11 C. M. Eakin,12 R.
Iglesias-Prieto,13  N.Muthiga,14 R. H. Bradbury,15 A.
Dubi,16 M. E. Hatziolos17


"Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is
expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global
temperatures to rise by at least 2?C by 2050 to
2100, values that significantly exceed those of at
least the past 420,000 years during which most extant
marine organisms evolved.

Under conditions expected in the 21st century,
global warming and ocean acidification will compromise
carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef

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   1. http://www.bio.utexas.edu/research/matz_lab
   2. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy
   3. http://members.greenpeace.org/hotseat/
   4. mailto:jhocevar at greenpeace.org
   5. mailto:jlang at riposi.net
   6. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   7. mailto:ctwiliams at yahoo.com
   8. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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  10. http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
  11. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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