[Coral-List] pushing Paris while pulling no punches

Bruce Carlson exallias2 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 5 14:15:07 EDT 2017


Iʻd go another step further:  public aquariums around the world are holding a huge number of corals representing a significant diversity of genera and species.  Further, for many of these species, they are actively cultivating and sharing them with other public aquariums (but generally not with hobbyists).  But the pedigree of these corals is largely unknown.  It is nearly impossible to trace any of these corals back to where they originated.  

However, given the success that public aquariums (and hobbyists too!) have had culturing corals over periods of years (even decades in some cases), and given the peril that many of these same coral species face in the wild, it would therefore behoove public aquariums to establish the equivalent of “Arks” for corals.  They are already growing the corals, but what they all need to do is begin managing the corals in a more systematic way, tracking the origins of every coral and managing them for perpetuity.  Who knows, someday the only robust coral reefs that we will see will be those aquarium exhibits.  

Re-planting these corals on reefs is, of course, fraught with problems, e.g., transferring pests and diseases, mixing zooxanthellae, etc., but there are ways to manage all of these concerns with proper culture and management protocols.

If corals really are in peril in the wild over the coming decades, then there should be a concerted and coordinated effort among public aquariums to manage their coral collections for whatever future lies ahead.

> On Jul 3, 2017, at 12:34 PM, Kaufman, Leslie S <lesk at bu.edu> wrote:
> John, pushing Paris is a wonderful idea, especially now, and especially with some good voices from out of the US loud enough to drown the din of our Twitter In Chief.  Throwing rotten fruit at the Trump show may be therapeutic, but better still is to just change the channel.
> I would also suggest that we do the one-two: push Paris, but also put out a welcome mat for reefs to return to.  I think most of us realize that the debate over why coral reefs are deteriorating is sterile- you know, whether it is climate change or local impacts (overfishing, overdevelopment, overpopulation, lousy watershed stewardship).  Without battling climate change we are screwed, but even doing so, if we do not also recreate the enabling conditions for coral reef growth, then we are shanked.   We should also exercise caution in berating manual restoration as futile, for it is going to prove a welcome adjunct in this recently recruitment-limited ocean.  We’ve brought the ocean to a new low and it may take a little encouragement to love it back to life.  Think of the “lost Franklinia,”  the gorgeous North American camellia, Franklinia alatamaha.  Minus the admiration of the Bartrams and subsequent generations of ambitious gardeners, this magnificent small tree from a tiny last redoubt in Georgia, would surely be extinct.  Or think of the American chestnut, for which hope that it might one day return as a bulwark of eastern US deciduous forests is literally growing, today, in experimental gardens.  Now, in the same mental frame, think Atlantic acroporid corals.
> It might be advisable to separate the two messages: killing climate change and cultivating corals, to keep each point simple, forceful, and in its proper context.  Dealing with climate change is essential on so many levels, and for so many reasons, that it stands alone.  Meanwhile, however, in our basic science and clinical practices alike, we should be reinforcing the importance of responsible stewardship for anything good to happen and stay happening in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives.
> Les
> Les Kaufman
> Professor of Biology
> Boston University Marine Program
> Faculty Fellow, Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future
> and
> Conservation Fellow
> Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science
> Conservation International
> lesk at bu.edu<mailto:lesk at bu.edu>
> Message: 6
> Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2017 12:29:08 -0400
> From: John Ogden <jogden at usf.edu<mailto:jogden at usf.edu>>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] What's really killing the corals.
> To: Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca<mailto:sale at uwindsor.ca>>, "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>"
> <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>>, Magnus L Johnson
> <M.Johnson at hull.ac.uk<mailto:M.Johnson at hull.ac.uk>>
> Message-ID: <3b9865f5-3413-2189-6153-9a99dd91700e at usf.edu<mailto:3b9865f5-3413-2189-6153-9a99dd91700e at usf.edu>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"; format=flowed
> Hi Peter and all,  OK, I think we pretty much agree and probably have
> for decades.  But if policies are going to change, we need a focal point
> on something that has a good chance of being achieved.  Right now ICRI
> is working on the materials for the announcement of the third
> International Year of the Reef (IYOR) in 2018.  Presently, the goals
> look disturbingly like those of the first IYOR in 1997.  Is there a
> policy focus suitable for  IYOR 2018 that can be achieved?   For
> example, is it conceivable that the global coral reef community could
> rise up with one voice to push the Paris COP climate agenda?
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