[Coral-List] Replying to Peter Sale Coral Restoration

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Wed Sep 30 15:46:26 EDT 2015

Dear Austin,

I think you make some excellent points and surely many coral restoration efforts are providing valuable insights into how we can regenerate reefs damaged by local and/or global stressors. The specific project you pointed out (Fragments of Hope) is a prime example. My concern (coming from a non-scientist) reflects one of the points that Peter made in his blog and that is that unless we address carbon levels directly (along with the usual lineup of local suspects) all these good works may be for naught. Just how resilient and adaptive can corals become? This doesn't suggest that we should forsake these efforts, but we should perhaps be mindful of their limitations. One concern that I have is that coral restoration is being used by some as a reason why we need not be overly concerned about coral reef degradation. For example, this line of thinking has entered into the debate about Grand Cayman's consideration of a new cruise ship berthing pier. Proponents argue that even though a popular reef spot will have to be sacrificed, science-guided restoration efforts are capable of rebuilding it and therefore we can have our cake and eat it too. I guess that the same can be said of concerns relating to the impacts of rising ocean temperatures and acidification. We can engineer our way out of it and restore our reefs as if nothing has happened. Although this is not the intent of the dedicated scientists who are working on these projects, we should be aware that misrepresentations abound.  

    Steve Mussman  

-----Original Message-----
>From: Austin Bowden-Kerby <abowdenkerby at gmail.com>
>Sent: Sep 29, 2015 4:57 PM
>To: coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
>Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Replying to Peter Sale Coral Restoration
>Dear Peter,
>Regarding coral restoration, your blog may have been somewhat accurate a
>decade ago, but it is not an accurate description of coral restoration
>Most coral restoration today is being carried out by scientists and
>managers, and is focused on endangered species restoration and climate
>change resilience and adaptation.  In many places corals are being put back
>onto managed reefs where what killed them in the first place is at least
>partially solved, and where they have not returned on their own through
>natural recruitment processes even after many years.
>The remnant populations of Acropora cervicornis, after surviving disease
>outbreaks and bleaching etc., continue to lose genotypes year by year
>throughout the region, mainly due to high levels of predation.  Many of the
>remnant and resilient populations, where we fortunately collected small
>samples from 2004, are continuing to thrive in nurseries, but unfortunately
>these same genotypes have died out on the reefs.  The process of Caribbean
>Acropora demise will continue on most reefs unless and until successful
>sexual reproduction is restored in the species, and although relatively
>small scale, we have successfully created diverse breeding populations in
>our sites. (See the recent spawning at Lisa Carne's Fragments of Hope Coral
>Nurseries in Belize Facebook site).
>Good no-take MPAs in the Caribbean have not regained their lost populations
>of staghorn and elkhorn corals on their own, and as such they are damaged
>systems with key habitat-forming coral species completely missing. They are
>mere shadows of their potential, and any studies on them will therefore not
>do justice for MPAs as a fisheries management strategy. Coral restoration
>is such situations is vital, and wonderful things are beginning to happen,
>in spite of the uphill battle.
>If you read the more recent reports and literature coming out of the
>Caribbean, I hope that you will realize that most of us are not "well
>meaning but misguided people", as you and others have publically asserted
>in the past.
>Thanks and regards,
>> Message: 4
>> Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2015 03:42:20 +0000
>> From: Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca>
>> Subject: [Coral-List] What can we do to save coral reefs?
>> To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
>> Message-ID:
>>         <
>> CY1PR1101MB121045CCAA3005C7B4BAA42DC2420 at CY1PR1101MB1210.namprd11.prod.outlook.com
>> >
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>> Hi listers,
>> I just put up the second of two posts dealing with the impact of this mega
>> el Nino, and what we can do to protect or repair coral reefs.  It includes
>> an edit of Dennis Hubbard's recent cautionary comments re jumping to simple
>> causal explanations and rushing out with new policy based on them.  Very
>> often the simple explanation was not only simple, but incorrect.  Not
>> saying do nothing, just pleading for intelligent action.
>> Sorry if I make some people unhappy with this one.  It's at
>> http://wp.me/p5UInC-x2
>> And DO report bleaching events, as well of cases where expected bleaching
>> did not occur, to coral-list.
>> Peter Sale
>> e-mail:                  sale at uwindsor.ca<mailto:sale at uwindsor.ca>
>> web:                      www.petersalebooks.com<
>> http://www.petersalebooks.com>
>> Twitter:                PeterSale3
>Austin Bowden-Kerby, PhD
>Corals for Conservation
>P.O. Box 4649 Samabula, Fiji Islands
>Sustainable Environmental Livelihoods Farm
>Km 20 Sigatoka Valley Road, Fiji Islands
>(679) 938-6437
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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