[Coral-List] Inquiry on Caribbean Acropora recovery accomplishments

Paul Muir paul.muir at qm.qld.gov.au
Tue Nov 7 20:43:57 EST 2017

Just reading the recovery plan for Acropora as I think we’ll need one for parts of the GBR/Coral Sea. But I got stuck on this first paragraph: 

“Although quantitative data on former distribution and abundance of these species are scarce, in the few locations where quantitative data are available (e.g., Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas, Jamaica, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), declines in abundance are estimated at greater than 97 percent. The significant loss of population density in both coral species has resulted in a reduction of their ability to successfully reproduce, either sexually or asexually. Data suggest the decline in Atlantic/Caribbean elkhorn and staghorn coral abundances is primarily the result of disease. Although disease was the primary cause of initial decline, other threats such as elevated seawater temperatures and ocean acidification are credible and potentially significant impediments to recovery of these species.”

Is disease really the official position as to degradation of the Caribbean?  And if disease is widely accepted are these primary pathogens introduced from elsewhere or are they secondary infections of corals weakened by anthropogenic nutrients and sediments/overfishing/development/bleaching etc? As many of our GBR/Coral Sea reefs are currently being "Caribbeanized" in terms of degradation and loss of Acropora I'm really curious to see what the accepted causes are for the Caribbean given that many years have now passed.    

Dr. Paul Muir
Research Officer/ Collection Manager Corals, Biodiversity & Geosciences Program

Museum of Tropical Queensland | Queensland Museum
70 – 102 Flinders Street | Townsville | Queensland 4810 | Australia t +61 7 47 260 642 | f +61 7 47 212 093 | m +61 407 117 998 Affiliate, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland Homepage ResearchGate | Google Scholar | Staghorn Corals Website

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Margaret Miller
Sent: Tuesday, 7 November 2017 10:38 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Inquiry on Caribbean Acropora recovery accomplishments

Dear Atlantic/Caribbean Colleagues,

We are writing to inform you of the availability of an inventory of accomplishments and ongoing projects related to implementing the Recovery Plan for Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis. The inventory covers activities conducted through 2017. The intent is to include all activities throughout the US and Caribbean, but we acknowledge that the inventory is biased to activities in the US.

If you know of an activity not listed in the inventory that directly addresses the actions in the Recovery Plan, or have any information that would supplement a listed activity, please contact Alison Moulding ( alison.moulding at noaa.gov). We will revise and repost the inventory with any additions received by 27 November 2017.

Background: The US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006 and published the Recovery Plan in 2015.  The Recovery Plan is a guidance document that identifies actions needed to recover the species.The Acropora Recovery Implementation Team (an appointed advisory body to NMFS) created an inventory of the many accomplishments that have been made within these recovery actions. The intent is to make this inventory publicly available and to update it on a regular basis to assist in prioritizing future recovery efforts and investments.


The Acropora Recovery Implementation Team


Project Inventory (includes summary of Recovery Plan Actions) listed under “Hot Topics”:


Description of Project Inventory


Full Recovery Plan:

Margaret W. Miller
Research Director
SECORE International
m.miller at secore.org
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