[Coral-List] Reef research needs

Christopher Hawkins chwkins at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 23 17:30:21 EDT 2011

Hi all:
I have to say that it has been heartening to see the research need posts that pertain to human dimensions.  Perhaps we are finally turning the corner from simply talking about ecosystems as human-inclusive...    
Gene of course is right to say that we should be concerned about the effects of chemicals in the nearshore (and many other stressors), but I think he errs when he seemingly trivializes social engineering.  The unavoidable fact is that so much of what local, tribal, state, and federal governments do when it comes to managing these resources is based on modifying people's attitudes and behaviors rather than some direct manipulation of nature. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(political_science):
"For various reasons, the term has been imbued with negative connotations. However, virtually all law and governance has the effect of changing behavior and can be considered "social engineering" to some extent. Prohibitions on murder, rare, suicide, and littering are all policies aimed at discouraging undesirable behaviors...changing public attitudes about a behavior is accepted as one of the key functions of laws prohibiting it. Governments also influence behavior more subtly through incentives and disincentives built into economic policy and tax policy, for instance, and have done so for centuries."
With that in mind, previous posters like Jim Bohnsack are correct to point to the disparity between social and biophysical research in the coastal and marine domains.  A first step towards changing negative attitudes and behaviors is foundational research to understand what creates them.
Finally, as I have said before, those of us in the natural resource management field are stewards of public resources.  Understanding what those publics want and need from those resources and how they want them conserved, should therefore be of no small importance to us and is best accomplished by folks with appropriate research training.

--- On Thu, 10/20/11, Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu> wrote:

From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Subject: [Coral-List] Reef research needs
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 2:13 PM

Much of the recommendations so far seem to revolve around some form 
of social engineering. Why is there so little concern about they way 
we saturate the  Florida Keys with aircraft delivered mosquito sprays 
the composition and effects of which is known only to the pesticide 
manufacturer. If the spray does not affect insects other than 
mosquitoes then why are places like the Fla Keys Marine Laboratory 
and other sensitive areas avoided?
If there were genuine concern we would all be clamoring for bioassays 
to determine if these toxic chemicals are slowly eating away at the 
onshore ecosystem and offshore coral reefs. To quote Denny Hubbard, 
"If you get on the wrong bus then every stop is the wrong stop" Gene

No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 
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