[Coral-List] NOAA Press Release - 3rd ever Global Bleaching Event Underway

Risk, Michael riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Fri Oct 9 13:02:37 EDT 2015

Hi Becky.

I sort of agree with John, in that (if this was his point) it is hard to treat bleaching as a local problem amenable to local solutions. It is easy to lapse into pessimism here: to paraphrase Keynes, in the long run, reefs are all dead.

But a thought-experiment can shed light on the need for acting locally.

List all the reefs that have declined as water quality declined.

List all the reefs that have improved as WQ improved. (A MUCH smaller sample size, but: 2 that I know of.)

WQ is the most local of local stresses.


> On Oct 9, 2015, at 12:36 PM, Rebecca Vega Thurber <rvegathurber at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi John,
>  As your friend and colleague I respectfully disagree with your statement.
> I don't think that the NOAA statement implied that all management must be
> local. However, there is clear evidence that not only can land based
> sources of pollution initiate bleaching earlier, it can also increase the
> severity of the bleaching. Further, the presence of increased nutrient
> pollution and the resulting effects of overfishing almost certainly reduce
> the resilience of the reefs experiencing bleaching, such that corals
> exposed to these local threats cannot recovery as quickly or to the same
> degree as those in more pristine waters. Perhaps in the face of such
> outstanding bleaching these factors are minimally important, but in the
> long term when El Nino events are not at play, these local efforts to
> reduce the intersecting effects of regional threats (sewage, nutrient
> pollution, sedimentation and overfishing) and thermal stress from climate
> are absolutely essential. Further the notion that there is nothing we can
> do locally is defeatist. Communities must have a way to respond; water
> quality and fishing management are two ways we maintain healthier reefs
> even in the face of events like this.
>     -Becky
> On Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 7:31 AM, Bruno, John <jbruno at unc.edu> wrote:
>> Mark Eakin did a fantastic job talking about coral bleaching and ocean
>> warming on NPR yesterday:
>> http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/08/global-bleaching-coral-reefs
>> But this bit of misinformation in the NOAA press release was disappointing:
>> "We need to act locally and think globally to address these bleaching
>> events. Locally produced threats  to coral, such as pollution from the land
>> and unsustainable fishing practices, stress the health of corals and
>> decrease the likelihood that corals can either resist bleaching, or recover
>> from it,” said Jennifer Koss, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program acting
>> program manager.
>> So what, has NOAA / CRCP abandoned science-based management?  Despite our
>> desire to deal with this global problem locally, the science clearly does
>> not support this notion.
>> JB
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> -- 
> Dr. Rebecca Vega Thurber
> Assistant Professor of Microbiology
> Oregon State University
> 454 Nash Hall
> Corvallis OR  97331-3804, U.S.A
> 541-737-1851 (office) 541-737-0496 (FAX)
> rvegathurber at gmail.com;Rebecca.Vega-Thurber at oregonstate.edu
> <Rebecca.Vega.Thurber at oregonstate.edu>
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Risk, Michael
riskmj at mcmaster.ca

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