[Coral-List] Evidence that ocean warming has caused most Caribbean coral loss

Risk, Michael riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Tue Apr 25 08:02:09 EDT 2017

   Good day John, colleagues.

   I feel compelled to respond to your post. Implying that those who disagree
   with  you  are  guilty of professional misconduct is hardly the way to
   encourage dialogue.

   I have neither the time nor the energy to go into many details here, but I
   point out that you have described an exercise in correlation whilst ignoring
   an impressive body of science. I do not question your motives. It is clear
   that society is headed in the wrong direction (although Canada is still
   committed to the Paris agreement.) In the long run (or even the short run!),
   if we do not control and reduce CO2 emissions, reefs are doomed. My personal
   position  is  fairly  clear: we have 10MW of solar panels on our roof,
   and-because we heat with wood-I spent a fun-filled afternoon yesterday
   splitting maple for next year.

   While it is true that the water temperature in the Caribbean has increased,
   it is also true that the Caribbean had already lost more than half its reefs
   before water temperatures had increased by more than a fraction of a degree.
   The reefs of the Florida Keys were particularly decimated, and there is
   overwhelming evidence of land-based stress going back to the 70’s. These
   reefs are at the northern limits of thermal tolerance.

   You state that there is no correlation of reef damage with human habitation,
   and cite as your source your paper with Valdivia-which I find unconvincing.
   Sometimes results are counterintuitive because they are wrong or misleading.
   We all know that you simply cannot find reefs anymore near dense human
   habitation. You mention Cuba: I just received a paper to review written by
   several  Cuban  biologists that documents reef decline near centres of

   The reason I take issue with you is that you let managers off the hook. If
   they are able to point to global change, then there is no impetus to control
   local sources of stress. This would be a huge mistake.

   I realize the news is now full of reports from Australia, which I personally
   find very depressing. We all need to understand, however, that we have lost
   the opportunity to run a critical experiment: how well could coral reefs
   survive ocean warming if they were not already stressed by human impacts?


   On Apr 24, 2017, at 9:57 AM, Bruno, John <[1]jbruno at unc.edu> wrote:

   I just posted a succinct review of the evidence that ocean warming has
   caused most Caribbean coral loss:
   As a bonus, Ive included links to dozens of PDFs of relevant papers:)
   Many of you are already familiar with this work. But there are some that
   continue  deny  its  existence. They offer no evidence for alternative
   explanations and are effectively accusing hundreds of their colleagues of
   fabricating their published evidence, e.g., of bleaching and disease related
   John Francis Bruno
   Professor, Dept of Biology
   UNC Chapel Hill
   Coral-List mailing list
   Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov


   1. mailto:jbruno at unc.edu
   2. http://theseamonster.net/2017/04/caribbean-bleaching/

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