[Coral-List] Inquiry on Caribbean Acropora recovery accomplishments

Benjamin Neal benjaminpneal at gmail.com
Wed Nov 8 11:14:41 EST 2017

Hi Paul and Margaret,

I would also suggest a longer time frame when considering nearshore coral
degradation and recovery. We had a recent paper
<http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/9/e1603155.full> in Science
Advances showing greater loss than previously accounted for in inshore
coral coverage in the Florida Keys, derived from what might be some of the
earliest paper records of the ecology of the area - 350 year old British
Admiralty coastal charts. This work suggests we could aim somewhat higher
when considering restoration goals, especially in the nearshore areas, if
we want to truly restore what once there . . . and suggests the causes
include a larger suite of stressors than just recent disease.

In terms of restoration goals, I am not suggesting we need to aim to return
some antediluvian ideal of coastal ecology, but it does provide an
interesting data point much farther back on the timeline than we ussually
use, and shows reef habitat existed in some places we no longer really even
survey . . .

We are of course not the first to suggest taking a longer time frame
<http://science.sciencemag.org/content/293/5530/629>, but adding to the
temporal timeframe in this complcated situation! Cheers, Ben Neal

On Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 8:43 PM, Paul Muir <paul.muir at qm.qld.gov.au> wrote:

> 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@
> 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.
> Sincerely,
> The Acropora Recovery Implementation Team
> Links:
> Project Inventory (includes summary of Recovery Plan Actions) listed under
> “Hot Topics”:
> http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/coral/index.html
> Description of Project Inventory
> http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/coral/
> documents/implementation_table.pdf
> Full Recovery Plan:
> http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/coral/
> documents/acropora_recovery_plan.pdf
> --
> Margaret W. Miller
> Research Director
> SECORE International
> 614.973.3559
> m.miller at secore.org
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*Benjamin P NealPostdoctoral Research ScientistBigelow Laboratory for Ocean
Sciences60 Bigelow Drive, P.O. Box 380East Boothbay, Maine 04544  *
*Office: 1-207-315-2567 x413*

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