[Coral-List] Listing Criteria Observation

Rhyne, Andrew arhyne at rwu.edu
Wed Dec 19 16:33:24 EST 2012

Alina et al. 

As one of the authors of the peer-reviewed paper that this reporter
covered, we spent a great deal of time with the reporter to assure the
facts of the story were correct. On her part she queried us back with
numerous fact related questions.  She did a good job with a complex topic.

Everyone on this list-serve should be aware that we can¹t write the final
news product, as that would result in a lack of independence by the
reporter. The reporter likely has no control over the headline, photos or
captions.  This is the risks of speaking with the media.  If you read the
peer-reviewed paper and the article, both are about trade.  The news story
leans to ESA and the effects this might have on trade and we suggest some
benefits from trade.   In our paper we merely mentioned global climate
change (temperature and acidification) as threats to corals reef

We did not supply the picture nor the caption.  I, in fact supplied
several photos of coral farming operations. My reaction to the photo was
more of why would anyone use a Caribbean coral for a Pacific story, I
would think a coral farm or a fish tank might be a better photo here.

I would encourage anyone that wants to read the peer reviewed paper to
email me and I'm happy to assist in a reprint.

Andrew L. Rhyne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology and Marine Biology
Roger Williams University
One Old Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809
arhyne at rwu.edu

Research Scientist
John H Prescott Marine Laboratory
New England Aquarium
One Central Wharf 
Boston, MA 02110

Editor -- Aquaculture, Aquarium, Conservation & Legislation
Open Access Aquaculture @ http://www.bioflux.com.ro/aacl/

On 12/19/12 3:20 PM, "coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
<coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

>Message: 2
>Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 10:13:42 -0800
>From: "Delbeek, Charles" <CDelbeek at calacademy.org>
>Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Listing Criteria Observation
>Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
>	<09DB2E532F2E564EAA2B49C495D7CDB15D4D551AF8 at MAILBOXCLUSTER.calacademy.org
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>This reminds me of a comment overheard between a woman and her elementary
>aged daughter as she read the ID label for an exhibit of a preserved
>coelacanth "Look honey, this fish was extinct and then they found more.
>Just goes to show ... you can't trust what a scientist tells you." Yes
>people, we have an image problem and we have a major scientific literacy
>problem in this country. I think that many institutions should put a much
>greater effort into training their staff on a) how to give effective
>presentations and b) how to interact with the media.
>Best regards,
>J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
>Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium
>California Academy of Sciences
>p 415.379.5303
>f. 415.379.5304
>cdelbeek at calacademy.org
>55 Music Concourse Drive
>Golden Gate Park
>San Francisco, CA 94118
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>-----Original Message-----
>From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Dennis
>Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:22 AM
>To: Szmant, Alina
>Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov; Jon Skrapits
>Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Listing Criteria Observation
>Alina makes an excellent point that I have thought about many times. We,
>scientists, are not particularly good at public speaking. Yes, we stand in
>front of (hopefully) huge audiences at international conventions and are
>(again hopefully) asked by colleagues to give lectures to various academic
>audiences. But, few of us are particularly good at laying out our ideas in
>a public forum (let alone a hostile one). This is not for lack of good
>intentions, but the reality is that MOST of us don't take on these public
>opportunities as carefully as we might. In academic circles, we double-
>triple-check our slides and what we have in them (well, some of us do
>anyway - we've all been to one of those talks where you wish someone had
>taken Gene up on his suggestions to have a basket of duck calls at the
>entrance to blow on when you see an awful slide). But, in public, we
>don't have control of the medium we are using (TV, radio) or we simply
>aren't as careful and assume the venue will be similar to a professional
>meeting. Two examples come to mind, and I use them because these are
>friends (at least I hope they still will be) and well-respected
>Also, I cinsider them to be among the very best of us at public advocacy.
>When I was still at West Indies Laboratory, a movie outlet produced "City
>of Coral". They had the appropriate star sitting on the gunwale of a
>and John Ogden sitting on the other. Over they went to view the reef.
>the narrator...." as they swim over the fields of *Acropora
>cervicornis*waving in the current". OK, missing gorgonians didn't put
>staghorn on the
>endangered list, but this gaff is still in the movie. On another instance,
>I saw Jim Porter on something like CNN describing their recent surveys of
>the Florida Keys well after the decimation of *A. palmata*. He made the
>point that the species was exceedingly rare - that it just wasn't there or
>it was sufficiently rare that it didn't appear in a single quadra... can't
>remember which. BUT..... the station had either gone through some video he
>brought with him or had stock video from somewhere else and picked the
>striking segment. You guessed it..... non-stop healthy stands of *A.
>So, coming back to Alina's post, we have to be very careful when we step
>outside the protected walls of the scientific cloister. There are things I
>discuss in class or mention in this forum that I am scared to death to
>mention in a public form full of skeptics. I believe that the apparent
>dies-back of *A. palmata* ca 6,000 and 3,000 years ago is important and is
>telling us something important about the species. I still don't know what
>that is, but I'd really hesitate to bring this up in a more skeptical
>setting where there are many opportunities to take this out of context and
>post something like, "Scientists report *Acropora* went extinct and came
>back from the dead..... twice!!!" So, we need to take control of our
>science and make sure it is well represented - I am assuming, of course,
>that the "scientist didn't believe it was acidification making rings on
>corals, in which case we have a bigger problem.
>On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 10:16 PM, Szmant, Alina <szmanta at uncw.edu> wrote:
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>never pursue that avenue due to restrictions.

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