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

Alex Brylske brylske at me.com
Tue Jul 11 14:58:28 EDT 2017

When I finished my masters I decided to pursue a Ph.D. not in research but in education; and reason for that was the influence of two individuals who—though primarily scientists themselves—were also inspirational educators. One of them was Gene Kaplan at Hofstra. The other was Bob Ginsburg. The presentation he developed in the late 90s on coral reefs as “cities in the sea” was not only the focus my dissertation, but became the underpinning of my entire outlook on the subject of coral reef education. With absolutely no benefit to him professionally, Bob spent many hours talking to me about how he thought coral reef education could be improved; and he even agreed to advise me periodically as I slogged trough the dissertation process. I truly never met a kinder or more selfless individual. To say he will be missed is a gross understatement.


Alex. F. Brylske, Ph.D.
Professor, Marine Science & Technology
Florida Keys Community College
5901 College Rd.
Building C, Room 216
Key West, FL 33040
office: 305-809-3148
cell: 954-701-1966
alex.brylske at fkcc.edu <mailto:alex.brylske at fkcc.edu>
brylske at me.com <mailto:brylske at me.com>

> On Jul 11, 2017, at 2:17 AM, Gregor Hodgson <gregorh at reefcheck.org> wrote:
> 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:
> http://coralreefs.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Reef-Encounter-March-2015-F
> In short, he was the first to ask the question, łWhat is the GLOBAL status
> of coral reefs?˛ 
> 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 didnąt 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 didnąt  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.
> <http://reefcheck.org/PDFs/mpb.pdf>
> Hodgson, G. and Liebeler J. (2002). The Global Coral Reef Crisis: Trends and
> Solutions. 
> <http://reefcheck.org/publications/The_Global_Coral_Reef_Crisis_Trends_and_S
> olutions.php> 
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