[Coral-List] Scleractinian collaboration

vassil zlatarski vzlatarski at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 12 12:18:18 EDT 2008

Dear Coral Friends,
No doubt that our knowledge about corals is basic for the reef understanding and preservation, but is its level satisfactory?  Presently there are four sources of information concerning scleractinian diversity: morphology, paleobiology, developmental biology, and molecular genetics.  It is practically impossible for a single investigator to collect and analyze all of them.  We are in a turning point of scleractinian taxonomy, nomenclature and systematic when only an integrative approach and collegial collaboration could offer efficient research.  This is a serious challenge for global and regional task forces.  Fortunately, the Internet is a cost effective and green way to work on such problem and to operate the existing rich information.  
      While in Okinawa such project for collaboration was kindly qualified as utopian today it is clearly more inevitable.  What is the most realistic way to organize this venture?  Why not to start with Atlantic scleractinians where the amount of information is more manageable than for Indo-Pacific?  
      I am glad to share that Dr. Steve Cairns kindly agreed to contribute to such project for azooxanthellate species. He is one of the leaders working now on Scleractinia volumes of Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology (TIP).  The web site experience of TIP project can be very helpful for extant Atlantic Scleractinia.  I trust that distinguished specialists and veterans like Dr. Judy Lang will collaborate actively.  Veterans would be helpful, but this is a task for many years and so has to be in the hands of now young energetic colleagues.  The 11th ICRS offers great possibility for personal contacts and discussions of such project. Let help finding in Fort Lauderdale an efficient solution for this professional duty in a simple way by keeping in mind the words “If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock” (Arthur Goldberg).
Vassil Zlatarski
Independent Scientist
131 Fales Rd., Bristol, RI 02809, USA;  tel.: +1-401-254-5121

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