[Coral-List] political arguments on coral-list

Michael Risk riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Thu May 22 19:47:24 EDT 2014


By all means, let us be accurate. I did not simply "come along and blame Billy." Gene, as he has done so often in the past, tried to get us to think by poking us. He posted some thoughts on management in which he outlined the problems of overlapping jurisdictions. He did not mention Billy.
 Billy responded with a personally insulting message to Gene that was so over-the-top I am surprised I was the only one who responded to it. (I am still waiting for Billy’s public apology.) You were evidently okay with Billy's posting, but have chosen to take issue with mine.
 Much of what you say is factually untrue, and the rest of it may be challenged.
 (It is in fact amusing to the external viewer. If it is true that "no form of local stewardship" could have averted the decline, then I look forward to a host of termination slips being issued by state and federal governments. Why not, if they are doing no good?)
 Hurricanes and winter cold fronts are obviously irrelevant to the present rate of decline. Hurricanes have been around since-possibly-the Ordovician, and cold fronts almost as long. What is different is the ability of reefs to survive these events.
 I also urge folks on this list to look up some of the wonderful work done by the older guys in the field-Gene, of course, and Phil Dustan and many other golden oldies-who began to document decline of Florida's reefs in the early 70s. This is long before major bleaching events, and long before the urchin die off.
 As this thread is supposedly about management, I would point out that there is only one example in the Caribbean where the water was cleaned up and the corals came back-Worthing, Barbados. Local stewardship. There is no such example from Florida.
 I have noted a reluctance amongst the ranks of government employees to confront the threats posed by land-based sources of pollution. I note that your list of references is woefully biased. I would suggest to readers that another perspective could be gained by reading any or all of the following. The first reference is 25 years old. The reefs of Florida would be in much better shape now if people had listened to Brian Lapointe a quarter-century ago.
 Lapointe, B. E., J. D. O’Connell and G. S. Garrett. 1990. Nutrient coupling between on-site sewage disposal systems, groundwater’s, and nearshore surface waters of the Florida keys. Biogeochemistry 10: 289-307.
Risk MJ, Lapointe BE, Sherwood OA, Bedford BJ (2009) The use of δ15N in assessing sewage stress on coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58:793–802.
Bruno J, Petes L, Harvell C, Hettinger A (2003) Nutrient enrichment can increase the severity of coral diseases. Ecology Letters 6:1056–1061.
Voss J, Richardson L (2006) Nutrient enrichment enhances black band disease progression in corals. Coral Reefs 25:569–576.
Baker D, MacAvoy S, Kim K (2007) Relationship between water quality, δ15N, and aspergillosis of Caribbean sea fan corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 343:123–130.
Lapointe B, Barile P, Matzie W (2004) Anthropogenic nutrient enrichment of seagrass and coral reef communities in the Lower Florida Keys: discrimination of local versus regional nitrogen sources. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 308:23–58
Sherwood OA, Lapointe BE, Risk MJ, Jamieson RE (2010) Nitrogen isotopic records of terrestrial pollution encoded in Floridian and Bahamian gorgonian corals. Environ Sci Techol 44:874–880
Ward-Paige C, Risk M, Sherwood O (2005) Reconstruction of nitrogen sources on coral reefs: d15N and d13C in gorgonians from Florida Reef Tract. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 296:155–163
Sutherland, K. P., J.W. Porter, J. W Turner, B. J. Thomas, E.E. Looney, T.P. Luna, M. K. Meyers, J. C. Futch and E. K. Lipp. 2011. Human sewage identified as likely source of white pox disease of the threatened Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. Env. Microbiol. 12: 1122-1131.

On May 22, 2014, at 3:22 PM, William Precht <william.precht at gmail.com> wrote:

> I was going to stay out this mess because it was getting personal.
> Two of my very close friends, colleagues, and mentors, Billy Causey and Gene Shinn, are taking shots at each other.  This is painful to watch, especially in a public forum.
> However, for Mike Risk to come along and blame Billy (i.e. managers of the FKNMS) for coral loss over the last few decades is both scientifically unfounded and wrongheaded.  Data from throughout the Caribbean and the Florida Keys indicate that no form of local stewardship or management could have protected these coral populations (especially the loss of Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis) from their major sources of mortality or changed the overall trajectory of coral loss during the past few decades. Specifically in Florida, winter cold fronts, hurricanes, numerous coral bleaching events, and coral and urchin diseases are stressors with known cause-and-effect relationships at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
> I encourage folks on the Coral List interested in the scientific merits of this argument to read the following manuscripts:
> Precht, W.F. and S.L. Miller. 2007. Ecological Shifts along the Florida Reef Tract: The Past as a Key to the Future. In: Geological Approaches to Coral Reef Ecology. R. B. Aronson (Editor). Chapter 9: 237-312.  Springer, NY.
> Lirman, D., Schopmeyer, S., Manzello, D., Gramer, L. J., Precht, W. F., Muller-Karger, F., ... & Thanner, S. (2011). Severe 2010 cold-water event caused unprecedented mortality to corals of the Florida Reef Tract and reversed previous survivorship patterns. PLoS one, 6(8), e23047.
> Burman, S. G., Aronson, R. B., & van Woesik, R. (2012). Biotic homogenization of coral assemblages along the Florida reef tract. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 467, 89.
> Toth, L. T., van Woesik, R., Murdoch, T. J. T., Smith, S. R., Ogden, J. C., Precht, W. F., & Aronson, R. B. (2014). Do no-take reserves benefit Florida’s corals? 14 years of change and stasis in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Coral Reefs, 1-13.
> Let's stick to the science!
> Bill Precht
> On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM, Michael Risk <riskmj at mcmaster.ca> wrote:
> > Billy:
> >
> > When Gene started working in Florida, coral cover was about 45%. It is
> > now less than 4%.
> >
> > It is obvious that "management" is failing. Instead of railing against
> > Gene, you might give some thought as to the points he makes. Citing the
> > complexity of the system is management-speak for, "we have no idea what
> > we are doing."
> >
> > Mike
> On May 20, 2014, at 7:03 PM, Billy Causey - NOAA Federal <billy.causey at noaa.gov> wrote:
> > Gene,
> > Please don 't pretend you know what Sanctuary management is about.
> > You are way off the mark and have no idea of the complexity in
> > managing 2900 sq nautical miles (9800 sq k) of some of the nation 's
> > most significant and heavily- used marine resources with about 28
> > different jurisdictions.
> >
> > The solutions and answers are no where close to as simple as you imply.
> >
> > When is sailing off into the sunset on your agenda?
> > Billy
> >
> >
> >
> > Billy D. Causey, Ph.D.
> > Southeast Regional Director
> > NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
> >
> > 33 East Quay Road
> > Key West, Florida 33040
> >
> > Phone:
> > 305 809 4670 office
> > 305 395 0150 mobile
> > 305 293 5011 fax
> >
> > Email:
> > billy.causey at noaa.gov
> >
> >
> >> On May 20, 2014, at 6:02 PM, Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >> Thank you Chris and Daphne. Yes it is a contact sport but one we have
> >> all  created. I well remember when the coral-list began. It was for
> >> scientists trading technical information...then it began to change and
> >> it started to bother some that so much space was used advertising reef
> >> management jobs and the like.  When climate and acidification became an
> >> issue things became even more political and complicated. I might mention
> >> here that global warming came after the 1970s when Steve Schneider was
> >> predicting we were headed into another ice age. The problem I constantly
> >> worry about is that NOAA, which claims to be a
> >> technical/science-oriented agency, sponsors the coral-list. At the same
> >> time the Coral reef Sanctuaries are part of NOAA and they are mainly
> >> about management/enforcement. Both are under the dept. of Commerce so
> >> that adds another level of restraints and unintended consequences. What
> >> if science uncovers a problem, for example that aerial spraying of
> >> mosquito pesticides is harming the reef, would that activity is made
> >> illegal? Not likely because it would drastically affect the
> >> Economy/Commerce of the Florida Keys. Another example would be
> >> sunscreen, which some published research suggest causes coral bleaching.
> >> (The stuff is banned in Mexican coral reef parks) If NOAA/dept. of
> >> Commerce banned sunscreen in the Keys might they be accused of promoting
> >> more skin cancers? The tourism/economy would certainly be affected. We
> >> can't have that. There are many such examples because the economy of the
> >> keys is greatly dependent on natural resources such as the
> >> fishing/lobster industry. Again the same political problem! The
> >> Sanctuary controls those activities by enforcing rules set up by another
> >> NOAA agency, National Marine Fisheries. And right next door is
> >> Everglades National Park, which is the dept. of Interior with a very
> >> different philosophy. Mosquito spraying is not allowed on their property
> >> and they have their own fishery rules/regulations and enforcement
> >> officers.  And lets not forget Fish and Wildlife Service, yet another
> >> part of the dept. of Interior. And of course there are the State Parks
> >> such as Pennekamp. See what a convoluted political situation we have! We
> >> just do it to ourselves. Does anyone really expect all these diverse
> >> parts of government to operate seamlessly especially at their
> >> headquarters back in Washington DC where each is constantly trying to
> >> increase its funding and influence?  It's clear we can't take politics
> >> out of coral reef science and research. A friend of mine used to say the
> >> definition of mixed emotions is when your mother in law drives your new
> >> Cadillac over a cliff. We certainly seem to have created a lot of mixed
> >> emotions to deal with. 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
> >> <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
> >> Tel 727 553-1158
> >> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Coral-List mailing list
> >> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> Michael Risk
> riskmj at mcmaster.ca
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

Michael Risk
riskmj at mcmaster.ca

More information about the Coral-List mailing list