[Coral-List] Acropora ID's and US threatened status

Kaufman, Leslie S lesk at bu.edu
Mon Sep 1 12:59:43 EDT 2014

Hi all.  The Center for Biodiversity (CBD) pushed for listing of these corals in order to gain legal and political leverage toward reduction of CO2 emissions.  While obviously well-intentioned, this strategy was pursued without regard to the appropriateness of the Endangered Species Act as the vehicle for achieving this end, or for the scientific and logistical arrangements necessary to make the listing meaningful and enforceable (they knew, we spoke with them at great length about this, wasn’t CBD’s problem…).

However, now that it has happened, I argue that what Steve is suggesting is absolutely essential.  Perhaps Kieran Suckling, CBD’s Executive Director, can assist now in ensuring that the necessary financial resources are present to do this properly.

Another important piece could be a status and trends assessment for each US population of these species or species complexes, with a broader view to the entire constellation of actions necessary to ensure their well being and recovery to de-listing- global actions, yes, but also the more immediately actionable local measures that must be taken.

Thank you Steve!


Les Kaufman
Professor of Biology
Boston University Marine Program
Marine Conservation Fellow
Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Ecosystem Science and Economics
Conservation International
lesk at bu.edu<mailto:lesk at bu.edu>

Message: 3
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 10:21:55 -1100
From: Steve Palumbi <spalumbi at stanford.edu<mailto:spalumbi at stanford.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] threatened coral Can we tell them apart?
To: Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com<mailto:douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>>, Meg Caldwell
<megc at law.stanford.edu<mailto:megc at law.stanford.edu>>, "Larry.Crowder at stanford.edu<mailto:Larry.Crowder at stanford.edu> Crowder"
<Larry.Crowder at stanford.edu<mailto:Larry.Crowder at stanford.edu>>
Cc: coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml..noaa.gov>>
Message-ID: <4E467962-30C2-45C8-AA3F-CD7074372A64 at stanford.edu<mailto:4E467962-30C2-45C8-AA3F-CD7074372A64 at stanford.edu>>
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Hi all, The NOAA list of threatened corals has a number of Acropora species in the Pacific shared by Guam, Samoa, the Northern Marianas, or the remote Pacific islands: Acropora speciosa, A. retusa, and A. globiceps. How many people in the world can positively identify them? Can we create a way to do this more easily? Are they actually the same species across this vast range? I am wondering if a very specific application of traditional and molecular taxonomy might help.

First, who in the world currently has the expertise and experience to identify these corals? I am asking for people who have, or know who has, to chime in here and I'll construct the list.

Second, can we get these people to locations in Samoa, Guam etc, to collect and positively identify specimens?

Third, can we use these voucher specimens to define molecular genetic traits across the genome that would distinguish the species from other similar ones? And by comparing vouchers from the same species from different locations could we confirm these vouchers actually belong to the same biological species?

Fourth, would agency biologists in the field find this a useful and positive activity that may help them define their response to the recent listing?

I'm curious about the List's opinions here and if there are additional approaches that might be valuable.

Stephen R. Palumbi
Harold A Miller Director, Hopkins Marine Station
Jane and Marshall Steel Professor of Biology
Stanford University

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