[Coral-List] Paul Jokiel

Steve Coles slcoles at bishopmuseum.org
Tue May 3 15:23:24 EDT 2016

We regret to inform the coral science community that Dr. Paul Jokiel passed away late last week in Washington D. C. where he was participating in a NSF proposal review panel. Paul was a brilliant scientist and great humanitarian who contributed greatly to marine science and coral biology. His research covered a wide range of coral reef ecology and management topics that included landmark work in identifying coral-algal thermal limits that provided a basis for understanding coral bleaching, and the importance of UV radiation in determining the composition of reef communities. He developed or improved many simple but effective methodologies that are used in coral or reef studies, including buoyant weighing, clod cards for measuring water motion, and CO2 dispersion techniques. He developed t and implemented he first widespread coral reef monitoring program in Hawai‘i that will continue to provide needed information on the condition of Hawai‘i’s reefs. Other areas of research were rafting on floating objects as a means of coral movement and distribution over long distances, coral capacity for re-growth after apparent mortality, the importance of watershed management to corals and reefs, and the long term prospects of coral and reef survival under climate change. At age 75 he was still active and hard at work, leading a group of Ph. D’s and grad students that recently received a three year NSF grant to continue their research on the effects of ocean acidification on coral growth, survival and diversity.

As important as his personal research was, it was perhaps superseded by his influence on colleagues and students. For years Paul organized and ran the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology Summer Program, where dozens of grad students came to conduct projects directed or advised by him and other invited researchers. Many of these students are now prominent coral scientists and look back on Paul as their first mentor in the field. In that program and at all other times, Paul always was always available to explore, explain, and encourage everyone who sought him out with an idea or a problem. He always had time to help others, including over 50 individuals he sponsored in 12-step programs over the past 30 years. His positive outlook on life and compassion will live on in the legacy he leaves behind.

Much more can and will be said in a memoriam to be submitted to Reef Encounter. For now we are all deeply saddened and will miss Paul terribly, and we extend our regrets to his family and many, many friends.

Steve Coles, Ku’ulei Rodgers, and the entire HIMB Coral Ecology Lab

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