[Coral-List] Listing Criteria Observation

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Tue Dec 18 22:16:08 EST 2012

Wow!  The first sentence in the article pointed to by the link below has left me speechless (but luckily I can still type!).  

It shows a photo of some A cervicornis with some strips of tissue missing (likely Coralliophila predation or some such), and the caption below this photo reads:

"Staghorn coral afflicted by whitening, which is associated with ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures.".  

This kind of pseudo-reporting and sensationalism by whomever wrote this article and whomever scientist was interviewed is a large part of the problem of why people stop believing 'scientists'.  Ocean acidification has not reached levels in any place in the Caribbean to have any possible or even dreamed about physiological effects on staghorn coral, and cannot at all be responsible for the lesions visible in the photograph.  Nor can "rising ocean temperatures" which can cause bleaching but that is NOT what this photo shows.

Can we please get back to real science and have some quality control over what information is broadly disseminated?

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 Jon Skrapits
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 2:26 PM
To: Steve Mussman
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Listing Criteria Observation

Agreed Steve,

I was being sarcastic about the parrot and trying to show that they are a benefit but at a quick glance it may seem as though they are destructive.

Check this out.


How can we develop scientific studies on the benefits of aquaculture if we never pursue that avenue due to restrictions.

On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 2:21 PM, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Jon,
> In response to your side note:
> **
> "If limiting actions that deplete the ocean such as harvesting coral 
> to grow it, then why aren't we destroying parrot fish that eat the 
> coral? I blame them for the destruction of the reef".
> A paper by the Universities of Exeter and California Davis, published 
> November 1, 2007 in Nature explains that Parrotfish are now the sole 
> grazers of seaweed on many Caribbean reefs, but fishing has limited 
> their numbers. With insufficient Parrotfish grazing, corals are unable 
> to recover after major disturbances like hurricanes and become much 
> less healthy as a result. The paper argues that in order to secure a 
> future for coral reefs, particularly in light of the predicted impact 
> of climate change, Parrotfish need to be protected. The good news is 
> that we can take practical steps to protect Parrotfish and help reef 
> regeneration. We recommend a change in policy to establish controls 
> over the use of fish traps, which Parrotfish are particularly 
> vulnerable to. We also call on anyone who visits the Caribbean and 
> sees Parrotfish on a restaurant menu to voice their concern to the management.
> This research was published in Nature: vol 450, issue 7166.
> Regards,
>   Steve
> -----Original Message-----
> >From: Jon Skrapits **
> >Sent: Dec 18, 2012 10:24 AM
> >To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >Subject: [Coral-List] Listing Criteria Observation
> >
> >I looked over the criteria the best I could. I apologize if I
> misunderstood
> >but it seems as though the driving factor for determining the listing 
> >of a coral is by counting the number of animals distributed in an ecosystem.
> >Then many different hypotheses are thrown out to state a personal 
> >case or blame a general global phenomenon or "problem." I never heard 
> >more
> specific
> >questions such as these.
> >
> >What does an acropora(or other corals) look like when it is subjected 
> >to low pH?
> >How about inadequate flow?(How can a fragmentation survive if you 
> >place it
> >improperly?)
> >How about elevated levels of nitrates?(does it even affect them?) 
> >Phosphates?
> >Insufficient calcium levels?
> >What about the overall chemistry of seawater when Magnesium is low?
> >Temp fluctuations?
> >Effects of a changing ecosystem causing a lack of food for corals?
> >Do corals really need fish or is it the other way around?( I have 
> >many systems w/out fish and pleny of corals)
> >
> >These and many other questions must be answered every hour in 
> >aquaculture and guessing wrong causes mass deaths in some cases. Much 
> >can be learned from this.
> >
> >
> >On a side note.... If limiting actions that deplete the ocean such as 
> >harvesting coral to grow it, then why aren't we destroying parrot 
> >fish
> that
> >eat the coral? I blame them for the destruction of the reefs.
> >
> >As I have said many times, gov. regulation will only kill the reefs.
> Making
> >it a profitable venture will save them. Educate not regulate. If we 
> >can't agree on what is killing the reefs and change our habits, the 
> >ocean will not improve and the corals will sit on the reef awaiting 
> >their demise. Are the oceans improving? What are we doing to improve 
> >that? Just ban havesting? That is the answer? I will collect as many 
> >species as possible to have a genetic pool of hearty corals that have 
> >been through
> fluctuations
> >and hopefully one day I can help or my kids can help to replant the ocean.
> >I will watch the rest of mankind squabble over what they think is the 
> >problem as it worsens. Maybe we will knock off parrot fish as a last
> resort
> >if they are still alive.
> >
> >
> >--
> >Thanks,
> >_______________________________________________
> >Coral-List mailing list
> >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> **

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