[Coral-List] Impact of listing 66 coral species on coral research

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Mon Dec 17 09:48:55 EST 2012

Hi Bill and List:

In my opinion, which I hesitantly share on Coral List, in spite of the local/regional decline in the % cover by the Caribbean species on the list, there are still locations that have abundant populations of these species (and probably even genetically diverse).  There are millions of colonies of these depleted species over their entire geographic range, even if at any one place they are less abundant than before.  The question really boils down to, are the local populations able to produce propagules that help maintain the regional populations, and that is not well studied for most of them.  Doing any form of research with these species is already more difficult because of all of the permits required, and be even more difficult in the future.

I hate to agree with Gene on too many things, but listing and increasing the level (threatened vs endangered) will not help 'save' any of these coral species, nor help the depleted areas regain former populations.  Coral reef concerns will not be the driver for how we humans deal with climate change, it will be the major draughts, forest fires, coastal and riverine floodings, Hurricanes Sandy and more to come, increased summer heat deaths in Europe and mid-west, disappearance of glaciers in areas like Peru and others that depend on snow melt for irrigation, and irrigation for food safety, etc, i.e. events that harm or kill lots of humans and human livelihood.  I don't see how listing these coral species will reverse over fishing of Caribbean reefs, or slow down coastal development of huge resorts on every tropical coastline and island looking economic development and jobs for their citizens.  Look at what is happening to the grey wolf in northern US:  after decades (and millions of US$) working to bring them back from near extinction, several states are out there killing them all, in fact making every effort to exterminate every last one of them because the wolves' natural ecology conflicts from human use of the public and private lands (and because the ranchers and hunters of those states hate the species).  

Until we get a grip on the numbers of humans born every year, deforestation,  fossil fuel based energy production (there is no such thing as clean coal or natural gas, they both produce CO2), agricultural practices that produce large amount of methane, excess 'stuff' consumption typical of western affluence (which the rest of the world now wants to share in), etc.  we and our ecosystems in the form we know them are doomed

Alina Szmant

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
Center for Marine Science and Dept of Biology and Marine Biology
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409 USA
tel:  910-962-2362  fax: 910-962-2410  cell: 910-200-3913

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of William Precht
Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2012 6:19 PM
To: Jennifer Moore - NOAA Federal
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Impact of listing 66 coral species on coral research

Dear Coral List:

If you want some idea about the genetic basis of the million or so colonies
of *A. cervicornis* documented by Miller et al.  See paper listed below:

Hemond, E. M., & Vollmer, S. V. (2010). Genetic diversity and connectivity
in the threatened staghorn coral (*Acropora cervicornis*) in Florida. *PloS
one*, *5*(1), e8652.
The punchline to this paper reads as follows -

" Despite the current patchiness of *A. cervicornis* in Florida, the
relatively high genetic diversity and connectivity within Florida suggest
that this population may have sufficient genetic variation to be viable and
resilient to environmental perturbation and disease."

Data does matter and these data should guide management decisions!

To quote Dr. Jane Lubchenco when she first took on the role as NOAA

" I have consistently emphasized that scientific knowledge should inform
decision-making, that scientists have an obligation to communicate their
knowledge in a clear, credible, relevant and useable fashion, and that
management and policy decisions should focus on the common good and the

                                                   Dr. Jane Lubchenco  (March
29, 2009)

Hopefully, we won't lose site of these data in a rush to judgement of
expanding ESA authority from Threatened to Endangered for the Caribbean

Happy holidays,

Bill Precht

On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 7:57 AM, Jennifer Moore - NOAA Federal <
jennifer.moore at noaa.gov> wrote:

> I urge everyone with questions about the ESA process and how it was applied
> to these particular species, to read the Proposed Rule, and Status Review
> Report.  In those documents we lay out exactly how we determined the 66
> proposed species meet the definition of either threatened or endangered,
> and why the 2 Caribbean acroporids should be reclassified from threatened
> to endangered.  Also remember that we determined that 16 of the 82
> petitioned species do not meet the definition of threatened or endangered...
> Population size is one factor that we consider in making listing
> determinations; however, there are several other factors including the
> magnitude and certainty of threats to the species.  Further, in corals,
> particularly fragmenting species, it is virtually impossible to determine
> population size from visual census.  One must consider percent clonality
> when applying census data to population estimates.
> Please visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/esa/82CoralSpecies.htm  and read
> the Federal Register Notice and supporting documents to understand the
> process by which we made our determination.  Also if anyone has questions
> for the NOAA staff who lead this proposal, please contact Lance Smith (
> lance.smith at noaa.gov), Chelsey Young (chelsey.young at noaa.gov), or me (
> jennifer.moore at noaa.gov).  We are happy to answer questions.
> Cheers,
> Jennifer
> --
> *Jennifer Moore
> ESA Coral Coordinator | Protected Resources Division
> NOAA Fisheries Service
> 263 13th Ave South
> Saint Petersburg, FL 33701
> 727-551-5797 phone | 727-824-5309 faxjennifer.moore at noaa.gov
> http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/esa/acropora.htm*
> *http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/esa/82CoralSpecies.htm*
> <http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/esa/82CoralSpecies.htm>*
> To those who sacrificed careers of adventure in the wide-open spaces
> to wrestle for conservation in the policy arena. *
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
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