[Coral-List] Coral Reef Degradation

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Thu Jul 21 13:51:14 EDT 2016

This seems like an interesting counterpoint to Doug's earlier post on the
the Spratleys. Are they "remote" and therefore more resilient or "under
human influence" (devastation) and, therefore, less so. Perhaps the message
here is that no reefs are outside the influence of humans?

I remember a post on this about a year back - where the Chinese equivalent
of the EPA argued that the Chinese projects were fully evaluated and that
appropriate safeguards had been put in place. Might we consider what folks
on small Indo-Pacific islands(or other remote places where most of us never
go) think when they read the same pronouncements of our EPA, NOAA and
similar oversight agencies making such claims?

I've always felt that transplanting corals from a place where they are
doing fine to a place where they "won't be impacted by a proposed project"
seems like just as large a stretch. If we want to argue that, "sure, they
aren't going to do as well, but the financial gains/necessity of this
project outweigh the eventual loss of sensitive, transplanted organisms",
then at least we're being honest.

As a geologist, I'm always optimistic. We've had five major extinctions and
abundance/diversity returned.... and expanded rapidly (on geologic scales,
but....) to a point higher than before the perturbation. The diversity
curve looks a lot like the Dow - it tanks occasionally (even without our
help), but then rebounds and ultimately goes higher, even when adjusted for
inflation. So, when I'm convinced that we'll have a greater impact than an
asteroid that largely vaporized much of the ocean and destroyed more than
95% of the known species, I'll start worrying about "the planet".

In the meantime, I'm more worried about our survival. I'm not sure yet
whether I'm arguing for or against it, but that's a post for another day.
In the meantime, we can always think about being "transplanted".


On Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 10:21 AM, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>

>    I often wondered about isolated, seemingly health coral reefs in regard
> to
>    their potential increased resiliency to the impacts of climate change.
> This
>    paper in Nature addresses that issue and I agree that local management
> alone
>    cannot  fully  protect coral reefs, but aren't isolated reefs or those
>    typically found in no-take MPAs obviously "healthier"?
>    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep29778
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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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