[Coral-List] scientists are not we should be most worried

Sara Allyn Mavinkurve sihaya at gmail.com
Thu Mar 15 22:23:02 EDT 2007

Dear Prof. Kaufman,

In defense of my fellow aquarists, we do prefer to purchase captive
propagated corals (and have come a long way in developing methods for
fragmentation and propagation).   Not only that, but several of my
fellow "hobbyists" (we like to put "hobby" in quotes since it's so
much more than that to most of us), have contributed significantly to
knowledge of captive coral reproduction.  Please take a moment to look
at the DIBS project (www.projectdibs.com/).  You might be impressed.
Dave Lackland, works daily to save the endangered Acropora palmata. He
is both a scientist and an "hobby" aquarist.  At least as much as we
aquarists may be a part of the problem, I believe we can be more a
part of the solution.

I apologize if I seem defensive, but I just wanted to point out that
home aquarists have contributed much more than just awareness.  We
have a unique opportunity that many purely-scientists don't have.  We
have corals in our homes.  We watch them for hours at a time, care and
feed them day in and day out.  We know a lot about corals that, dare I
say, many scientists don't (and vice versa).  We all have a lot we
could teach each other and help each other if we can manage to mend
the wounds and rebuild the bridges.  Again, this is part of my goal
with ASIRA.

Thank you,

P.S.  We don't use halogen lamps... we use metal halide lamps.  ;-)

> Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 13:05:09 -0400
> From: Les Kaufman <lesk at bu.edu>
> Subject: [Coral-List] scientists are not we should be most worried
>         about
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID: <0161A1BA-B119-4514-A8AD-3371870451F0 at bu.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=WINDOWS-1252;   delsp=yes;
>         format=flowed
> Re: the message below, please let us do what we can to maintain a
> perspective on scale, and also to take every opportunity to teach
> about scale to the public.  What responsible scientists may do in
> terms of inflicting harm on reef organisms in the course of learning
> about them, is trivial as compared to what academics along with a
> worldful of their more affluent conspecifics are doing to reefs as
> resource consumers and generators of atmospheric CO2.   Furthermore,
> reef aquarists who purchase from responsible sources are probably
> promoting conservation more than harming reefs...at least until we do
> the math on the CO2 generated in to keep a halogen sun lit half the
> day on each of their reef aquariums.   Then there are playoffs
> between the benefits of an aware, politically active electorate
> versus the costs of these people acquiring their environmental
> concerns and maintaining their disposition towards activism through
> the inspiration provided by their slimy charges.
> The absolute harm inflicted by scientists is hopefully a non-issue,
> but the symbolic harm of a citizen seeing a scientist collect or
> experiment upon corals still deserves attention.  It requires a lot
> of contact with the community of people who live beside a reef to
> succeed in sharing a bigger, more sophisticated picture of those
> factors determining the future of that reef, than the simple,
> superficial sentiments that would knit the observer's brow who
> happens to witness a scientist popping a coral branch tip into a tiny
> vial of alcohol.
> ***
> Jenny and list,
> This may sound silly to some, but how can we coral reef scientists
> pledge
> "not to disturbe, damage or collect corals and other reef organisms"
> when,
> paradoxically, often that is exactly what we have to do to study
> coral reef
> organisms in order to understand how these systems work and to produce
> knowledge useful for their better conservation and management?
> Fernando
> Les Kaufman
> Professor of Biology
> Boston University Marine Program
> and
> Senior PI
> Marine Management Area Science
> Conservation International
> ?I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.?
> George W. Bush
> Saginaw, Michigan; September 29, 2000


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