[Coral-List] 82 coral species listing

John Bruno jbruno at unc.edu
Wed Jul 11 12:54:56 EDT 2012

Gene Iv'e been reading your posts on the potential listing of 82 new coral species under the ESA. Last time this issue came up (with the Acropora listing), I largely agreed with you (e.g., your arguments in Shinn MPB 2004). 

But Iv'e changed my mind. And I think you are asking the wrong question. ESA listing is designed to facilitate recovery of a "threatened" species. I see your point, but the time machine argument doesn't really make sense.  Acropora is tricky since it was largely wiped out by WBD which I agree with you, was not linked to ocean warming.  But for many of the new 82 species, warming (and subsequent disease and bleaching and eventual acidification) are indeed major causes of the decline.  But more importantly, removing these stressors is key to successful restoration, which again, is what the ESA is all about.  How will ESA achieve this?  As others have pointed out, ESA listing of corals (and other species like Polar Bears) is a tool that can be used (e.g., via the EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously, the coral listing alone will not save reefs, but in my view the listing it is an important and valuable step forward.  

John Bruno

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