[Coral-List] Coral killing continues in Florida

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Fri Sep 11 07:47:34 EDT 2015

Gene, Good scientists should not communicate in a way that would appear to demean or humiliate a fellow scientist . . especially in a public, peer-surveyed forum. Challenge all you want, but don't lose sight of what constitutes proper decorum and civility. You and I and many others have expressed differences before, but never with such a noticeable and personal level of vitriol. I know you are not likely to take any advice from me, but before I respond on list to any provocation I take a couple of deep breaths which usually results in some measure of editorial restraint. That has helped me avoid airing out musings that likely would have been seen as a mean spirited rant. 

Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 10, 2015, at 1:07 PM, Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu> wrote:
> Sarah, Your rant re, "killing hundreds of acres of endangered 
> corals"---- the Corps of Engineers, "bulldozing crusade," "Port of Miami 
> disaster," and "nightmare" may be a little over stated. That kind of 
> language may create some excitement with some but is not likely to get 
> you anywhere with the agencies involved. Good scientists should not rant 
> that way or misidentify Golith Grouper poop for reproductive fluid as 
> you did on the list last year. Did you apologize to readers for that 
> mistake?
> My former office on Fisher Island overlooked the dredging area in 
> question for 15 years. I know it well and although there were some 
> corals there it is a stretch to consider it a coral reef. That limestone 
> area had been essentially devoid of reef-building corals for millennia. 
> The few corals that were there were only the hardiest, weediest species. 
> In fact we could not grow corals in the water from government cut that 
> we collected there at high tide for experiments. Admittedly, that was 
> before the Virginia Key sewage outfall was moved further offshore. I am 
> aware that a large amount of money was spent moving corals and on 
> monitoring the effects of the dredging spoil on the few live corals 
> found there today (coral cover off Miami-Dade County is routinely 
> measured at a half percent or less by SECREMP). Some divers have 
> photographed sediment accumulations on corals near the dredge area but 
> were not aware the sediment was on corals already dead. The greatest 
> threat was the regional 2014 bleaching event followed by regional white 
> plague disease that ranged from Monroe to Palm Beach County well outside 
> the dredging area (and is still ongoing). The scientists doing the work 
> of course cannot discuss the results of the required monitoring studies 
> at the present time because of ongoing lawsuits. I suspect that at 
> sometime in the future many interesting publications and reports will 
> become available for more critical review. I can appreciate the feeling 
> of the many who have seen the unavoidable plumes that result from any 
> dredging but it is something that none of us can stop. The danger is 
> that strong contestable language now may backfire and create deleterious 
> effects on the credibility of coral scientists in the future. A year 
> from now the area in question will likely look no different than nearby 
> areas not touched by this dredging.Gene
> -- 
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> College of Marine Science Room 221A
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158
> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
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