[Coral-List] Reefs in the Anthropocene . . .

Magnus L Johnson M.Johnson at hull.ac.uk
Fri Apr 28 11:55:53 EDT 2017

Fellow polyps,

At what point do we just have to recognise that it's too late to do anything to stop the Anthropocene juggernaut we have set in motion and start to think of remedial/mitigating actions that will save what we can?  I think many conservationists don’t like this suggestion because it 1) Smacks of defeatism and 2) Suggests that MPAs/leaving things alone so that nature can rebalance (the erroneous equilibrium paradigm) are not "the answer". 

Do we need to start capitalising on technological/clever interventions that can rescue what is rescuable rather than wringing our collective hands in despair while we watch reefs dissolve around us?  The problem is of course is that we are ignorant of the myriad of connections in tropical (or any) ecosystems and we could do a lot of damage with our meddling but what other answer is there?

Best wishes, Magnus

-----Original Message-----
From: Douglas Fenner [mailto:douglasfennertassi at gmail.com] 
Sent: 28 April 2017 01:13
To: Ulf Erlingsson <ceo at lindorm.com>
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov; Bruno, John <jbruno at unc.edu>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Evidence that ocean warming has caused most Caribbean coral loss

    My understanding is that climate science data supports the view that the rapid increases in world temperature in recent decades has been caused mostly by human emissions, while earlier, more gradual temperature increases were caused mostly by natural processes (in spite of claims that we are in the beginning of a new ice age).  Both of these were present in the graph John presented in his essay.  However, it seems unlikely to me that corals either understand the causes of temperature increases, or care what those causes are.  Corals are impacted by temperature increases, whatever the causes of those temperatures are, surely.  That includes turning up the heat in aquaria in experiments.  So it seems to me that John's graph of increasing temperatures IS relevant to the question of whether corals in the Caribbean have been impacted by temperature increases or not, and I don't see the relevance of the question of what caused the temperature increases, at least to the question of impacts on corals.  The effect of increasing temperatures on corals is a mechanistic thing, higher temperatures stress or kill corals.  Cause of temperature increase is irrelevant for that.
     That said, it is good to remind us of the broader processes over geological time.  That could include the fact that present temperature increases exceed those that have happened in a very long period of time, well beyond the range of time you've referred to.
Cheers,  Doug

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