[Coral-List] Florida's barrier reef seen doomed by 2000

Greta Aeby greta at hawaii.edu
Sun Jul 19 04:27:05 EDT 2015


  Thanks for bringing this to all of our attention.  It is important to
prevent the "shifting baseline" problem.  Younger marine scientists could
be fooled into thinking that Florida's reefs always looked the the way they
do today.  Unfortunately, Hawaii's coral reefs are starting down the same
path, of increased frequency of coral disease outbreaks and lack of any
significant action to address the underlying problems of overfishing and
land-based pollution.  Sedimentation, leakage of nearshore cesspools and
injection wells and sewage overflows during rainy seasons are a chronic
problem for Hawaii's reefs.  In Kaneohe Bay, Oahu we have had 3 major coral
disease outbreaks (progressive tissue loss diseases) affecting 100s of
corals within the past 5 years.  Will society allow Hawaii's reefs to die
as well?


Greta Aeby, PhD
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 9:52 AM, Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca> wrote:

> Hi Gene and listers,
> Yes, old news reports can bring back memories.  Thanks for sharing.
> Some will immediately latch onto the date, 2000, and say, "hey, there is
> still some living reef here, therefore those ancient scientists did not
> know what they were talking about."  Others may latch onto Walter Jaap's
> dismissal re the amount of reef area sampled as further proof against
> those ancient scientists.  Others may vaguely (or more clearly) remember
> that it is not the total area in sample plots, but their dispersion across
> the area and how their data are handled statistically that determines
> whether the sampling was adequate.  And others will reflect on the real
> message conveyed by Shinn, Porter, Ogden and others:  that the Florida
> reef tract was in decline, that there were diseases and pollution, and
> likely too many people -- and these others will know that those
> observations were correct back then, and that things have not improved
> very much if at all since then, except that the question of whether we are
> the cause, or whether climate change is involved is now in far less doubt
> (emphatic yes to both).
> No, it did not "disappear" by 2000, but we still seem to ignore the need
> to substantially change our behavior in order to give it much chance for
> the future.
> And the Florida reef tract is just one of many reef regions around the
> world where our conservation efforts could be far more robust than they
> have been to date.
> Gene keep up your photo documentation effort.  we need a visual history
> for that day in the future when we finally want to see exactly what the
> Anthropocene has wrought.
> Peter Sale
> @PeterSale3
> www.petersalebooks.com
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