James Cervino PhD. jcervino at whoi.edu
Thu Feb 25 09:56:32 EST 2010

Dear Eric-

I want to express my deepest apologies, for any grammatical errors in my recent
post.  This is the result of a quick emotional response from your very long
posting on the coral-list advocating the continued sale or importation of wild
collected corals from regions in the tropics subjected to or not subjected to
stress in a global warming/acidification world.  I will comment under you’re
your unsubstantiated ecological view points and confusing paraphrased
definitions below:

Borneman wrote: 1) there are not sufficient data to substantiate the actual
threat to the species from the aquarium trade (and indeed several species of
most concern from the aquarium trade are not on the list, but are found in US
waters and are subject to the same habitat loss, and just about every other
threat that was listed for those that are included) and

James:  Where do you get your information from ? Can you prove otherwise?  Maybe
you should print this hypothesis on your “Coralmania” website for your fans to
use at coral swap meets, which  can help justify the clear-cutting of coral
rain-forests that is happening across the tropics. I must say that your website
has the most exquisite photos of living corals kept in Aquaria I have ever seen.
I look at these images and say to myself: “what a vision of stunning beauty”
that should be kept on the reef.  Why not ONLY resort to the farming of corals
for sale ? Why do we need to collect corals and interrupt the energy cascade
associated with the interconnected marine organisms living within a wild reef

Borneman wrote: 2) even with the data that do exist, aquarium collection - while
  a potential threat - pales by comparison with the amount of
corals destroyed by blast fishing, yet this very common and massively
destructive practice is limited to a single sentence as being important to only
one region, and not to regions where it is very common -  regions of the coral
triangle where the impact on biodiversity is much greater.

James: You have acknowledged that global warming and acidification are a global
threat that is having a sever impact on corals, along with blast fishing in the
tropics. Also, the references you site put fourth a grim picture for the future
of reefs. Therefore, how can you say that the hundreds of thousands of
imported corals pose only a “potential threat” ! You simply look at corals as an
economic resource for the trade business, and we coral physiologists look at
corals as a free economic resource in terms of biodiversity, fish and other
critters nursery habitat, shoreline protection and a gene bank for the last
remaining natural wonders left on this planet.

In conclusion Mr. Borneman; please advocate the protection of wild collected
corals and engage in the selling of farm collected corals only, as one coral
colony removed or deforested from the reef is one too many.   I am sure that
the collection of one 6-10 cm coral fragment taken from it’s niche on the reef
will displace another significant invertebrate species, segmented worm or other
interconnected organisms that flow into the energy trophic cascade within a
reef system. You simply don’t get it.  You are brilliant at coral husbandry and
have an amazing eye for capturing the true morphological responses and character
of symbiotic corals, which is why it is so difficult for me to see how you could
advocate the removal of one coral colony from an Indo-Pacific Reef, given the
state of the worlds corals from an environmental perspective.


Dr. James M. Cervino
Visiting Scientist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Contact Information:
NYC Address: 9-22 119st
College Point New York, 11356
Cell: 917-620*5287

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