[Coral-List] Are reef ecologists capable of building the complex science needed?

Bruno, John jbruno at unc.edu
Wed Nov 1 14:31:10 EDT 2017

Peter, I loved your post!  I spent Sunday night pouring over it and the papers you described. Thank you for taking the time share your invaluable thoughts. 

Denny, I agree. Also, its about more than ecology and geology. There’s huge complexity in microbiology, physiology, evolutionary biology etc. E.g., recent work suggests other critters like sponges, microbes etc are playing an important and complex role. Plus these critters are all evolving and acclimatizing. Hard to get your head around all this complexity. 

Phil, on the one hand, I agree. Let’s just get on within it!  On the other, even if we did all that, we’d still be in a changed world. For example, reefs of the Caribbean are already ~1C warmer and would likely be another 0.5 - 1.0 C hotter by the time emissions stopped. That changed context means very different rules. Assuming we want to “restore” reef systems to something “close" to the way they were*, I think that probably means we do need to understand at least some of this complexity, e.g., how all these species interact in this new world, what are the new assembly rules, what’s limiting recruitment of the coral species we’ve lost (even on intensively grazed, seaweed-free reefs) = more better science! 

*I realize there’s no going back to the eden we lost. 


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