[Coral-List] Macroalgae in the Keys

Michael Risk riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca
Fri Jun 27 19:21:31 EDT 2008

Without in any way adding to the backpatting, backslapping,
backsliding, backpedalling or backstabbing, allow me to go back a bit.

Many years ago, when some of us had more hair and the world had more
reefs, I was asked to serve on a "expert" panel convened by EPA,
designed to evaluate the ALL the reef- and biota-monitoring programs in
the Florida Keys. Seems to me it was 2000. I will not identify the
other panel members-I will leave it to you whether this is due to my
desire to spare them the exposure, or to the fact I forgot their

We sat through two fun-filled days of presentations. (I do this sort of
thing periodically, as part of my "foreign aid" efforts.)

At the end of this, we had some very nice words to say about the FMRI
monitoring program-Porter, Jaap, Kosmynin, Dustan, etc. We were also
appalled by the evidence of decline. In fact, our preliminary report
characterised the situation as a "regional mass extinction." This
phraseology did not survive.

We also emphasized that monitoring had done its job. Monitoring is not
an end in itself: it is one facet of the
detection-identification-amelioration sequence. The detection part,
identifying decline, was done long ago.

I mention this for two reasons: first, the "shifting baseline." I
venture to say that no scientist in their 30's or 40's, working in the
Caribbean, has ever seen a real reef. Before thundering off in all
research directions, they should sit at the feet of the Grand Old
People of Caribbean reef research and ask them, "Tell me what it was

The other reason I bring this up is to speak to causes. There was no
evidence at that meeting that "climate change" had had any effect on
Florida, and I venture to say that proving this would be a hard slog.
It would necessarily begin with discussion of long-term temperature
records from the area.

Mike (again. Why doesn't that guy shut up?)

On Fri, 27 Jun 2008 18:07:06 -0400
 Jim Hendee <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov> wrote:
>    Yo, Team,
>         Let's  just remember that we're all passionate about coral
> reefs,
>    and  it's  easy  to take offense when somebody says you don't help
> our
>    precious resource in the proper way.  I can not see how somebody
> could
>    have,  say, a sinister motive in what they do to help the coral
> reefs;
>    they  just  might  not  do it the way you would if you had the
> chance.
>    Some people have the advantage or authority to do something you
> can't,
>    and sometimes some people have better ideas than those people; but
> the
>    fact remains that we all have to keep the prize uppermost in our
> minds
>    and try to work with each other.
>         So, now that everybody has had their chance to politely blast
> the
>    other publicly, can we make sure we tone things down a little and
> come
>    back  toward  merely  stating  those  rather  dry and less
> emotionally
>    charged  facts?   We  don't want to make enemies here, we want to
> make
>    friends and colleagues for "the cause!"
>        Thanks...Jim
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Mike Risk
Marine Ecologist
PO Box 1195
Durham Ontario
N0G 1R0

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