[Coral-List] threatened coral Can we tell them apart?

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 2 01:58:02 EDT 2014

Steve,I congratulate NOAA for taking the necessary steps to protect threatened corals by having them listed, and I'm also curious to know more about the identification challenges you mention.
However, at the risk of sounding like a broken record (from the times of vinyl LP's), I think we should also focus on enforcement as well as listing. In Florida, where identification of Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis is a no-brainer, healthy thicket of A. cervicornis have been recently smothered by a massive beach renourishment project in Broward county. How this was allowed to happen, just a few miles from a major NOAA complex in Miami (which houses both National Marine Fisheries Service-NMFS and the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory-AOML) is a mystery. I posted the impending threat in this list, and I'm still waiting on a response from NOAA.
Perhaps NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and state agencies should work closely together to better enforce coral protection as is required when species are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. Coordinator Reef Rescuers ProgramIsland Conservation Centre Nature Seychelles,Amitie, Praslin, Seychelleshttp://www.natureseychelles.org/what-we-do/coral-reef-restoration-and-Research CollaboratorSmithsonian-National Museum of Natural Historyat Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce, FL, USATwitter: @GrouperDocBlog: http://grouperluna.wordpress.comhttp://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTorres

> From: spalumbi at stanford.edu
> Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 10:21:55 -1100
> To: douglasfennertassi at gmail.com; megc at law.stanford.edu; Larry.Crowder at stanford.edu
> CC: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] threatened coral Can we tell them apart?
> 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.
> best
> Steve
> **********************************
> Stephen R. Palumbi
> Harold A Miller Director, Hopkins Marine Station
> Jane and Marshall Steel Professor of Biology
> Stanford University
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