[Coral-List] Bob Ginsburg -- how a geologist triggered global coral reef conservation

Gregor Hodgson gregorh at reefcheck.org
Tue Jul 11 02:17:07 EDT 2017

For those interested in how one man, Bob Ginsburg, changed the course of
coral reef conservation, a few of us wrote up a piece for the March 2015
issue of Reef Encounters (p. 17) purposely to recognize these unusual
accomplishments for a geologist while he was still with us. For those who
missed it:


In short, he was the first to ask the question, ³What is the GLOBAL status
of coral reefs?² 
In addition to his mainstream scientific skills, Bob was an entrepreneur and
excellent salesman. I designed and managed the first global survey of coral
reefs for IYOR 1997 because Bob Ginsburg asked me to do it and sold me on
the idea. At the time, Bob didn¹t believe that remote reefs were in trouble..
When our 1997 results showed that they were severely overfished among other
problems, and we announced at a 1997 press conference (and later published)
that there was a "Global Coral Reef Crisis," he still didn¹t  believe it.
But the first global bleaching event the next year got him on board.
What i will remember most about Bob was his very unique voice, understated
way of speaking, and his wonderful wry sense of humor.
Hodgson, G. (1999). A Global Assessment of Human Effects on Coral Reefs.
Marine Pollution Bulletin. 38/5: 345-355.
Hodgson, G. and Liebeler J. (2002). The Global Coral Reef Crisis: Trends and

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