[Coral-List] Reassessing Coral Reefs

Michael Risk riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Fri Mar 27 09:24:53 EDT 2015

Hi Judy.

As I sit here waiting for our interminable winter to end, I am moved to a very brief comment.

We should heed the evidence of the geologic record. In this case, I refer to the large number of recorded reef extinctions.  Most of these  were driven by the three horse-people of the reef apocalypse: climate change, sediments and nutrients. The evidence seems to suggest that adaptation has rarely worked in the past.  (To those who would argue that reefs in some form have reestablished after catastrophes, I would say: sure. The time lag is generally on the order of 10 million years.) 

In order to invoke the possibility of saving reefs by accelerating adaptation, we would have to envisage a scientific and societal commitment on a very large scale for an unproven result. That same effort devoted to litigation would certainly pay dividends.


 an Mar 26, 2015, at 5:35 PM, Judith Lang <jlang at riposi.net> wrote:

> Dear Steve,
> Regarding whether climate change should be addressed via adaptation versus mitigation, it seems to me that we're already in a state that both are desperately needed. 
> It's easy to get discouraged, but I was recently reminded by a wise young graduate student that, "It's never too little and never too late." For their sake, and for the sake of future generations, the "oldies" amongst us can't allow ourselves to think or act as if mitigation is impossible.
> Judy Lang
> AGRRA Scientific Coordinator
> On Mar 25, 2015, at 2:53 PM, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>  Dear Listers,
>>  I'm working with others to try and encourage the scuba diving industry to
>>  get more proactive
>>  with regard to it's policies on coral reef conservation. As you know, there
>>  has been no progress
>>  within the industry on addressing climate change.. That issue is and has
>>  been a non-starter for
>>  years. Now the question arises as to whether or not to even focus on that
>>  concern going forward.
>>  Many of you seem to be resigned to the fact that that ship has already
>>  sailed. Recent comments seem
>>  to indicate a shift in focus from avoidance to mitigation and adjustment to
>>  a new reality which envisions
>>  coral reefs as a manifestation of the concept of "novel ecosystems". If that
>>  is in fact the case, on what
>>  issues should the industry be focusing if and when it ever becomes willing
>>  to become seriously involved
>>  in developing effective measures designed to conserve the reefs of tomorrow
>>  whatever their composition
>>  may be? Do we shift entirely to land-based pollutants, sedimentation and
>>  over-fishing or do we continue
>>  to press for action or at least policy objectives related to sustainability
>>  and carbon emissions? I need input.
>>  Contact  me  off-list  if necessary, but exchanging ideas openly seems
>>  appropriate and even beneficial.
>>  It would certainly be refreshing to witness a free flow of ideas.
>>  Regards,
>>  Steve
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Michael Risk
riskmj at mcmaster.ca

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