[Coral-List] Replying to Peter Sale Coral Restoration

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Wed Sep 30 17:57:26 EDT 2015

Hi Austin:

Perhaps a perspective of geological ignorance... but there seems to be some
inconsistency in your statements. As I understand it, the idea is to a)
"put [corals] back onto managed reefs", where b) "what killed them in the
first place is at least partially solved" but c) "they have not returned on
their own".

The assumption seems to be that the solution is to restore the degree of
sexual recruitment because the root causes have been "at least partially
solved". It seems equally plausible that the stresses, although lower, are
still sufficient to discourage success? There is probably much more to this
than I am aware of, but based solely on what you have outlined, it seems
like there is a presumption that sexual recruitment will bring success, but
that we don't have much experimental data derived from systems where that
has led to recovery - or do we?

Personally, I've never had a problem with people rearing or transplanting
corals as long as they are not making any money on it (and I'm not
inferring in any way that you are). The problem for me is that there ARE a
lot of people being paid to transplant healthy corals into marginal
habitats as "mitigation" to offset removing them from where they were doing
well in the first place.

So, you are to be lauded for your goals and I hope this is a huge success
where little else has worked. But, I'm not sure it's time yet to argue that
Peter is not justified in his pessimism.



On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 4:57 PM, Austin Bowden-Kerby <abowdenkerby at gmail.com
> wrote:

> 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
> today.
> 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,
> Austin
> > 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
> https://www.facebook.com/C4Conservation
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009j6wb
> Sustainable Environmental Livelihoods Farm
> Km 20 Sigatoka Valley Road, Fiji Islands
> (679) 938-6437
> http://permacultureglobal.com/projects/1759-sustainable-environmental-livelihoods-farm-Fiji
> https://www.facebook.com/teiteifarmstay
> _______________________________________________
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Dennis Hubbard
Chair, Dept of Geology-Oberlin College Oberlin OH 44074
(440) 775-8346

* "When you get on the wrong train.... every stop is the wrong stop"*
 Benjamin Stein: "*Ludes, A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream*"

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