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

angela dikou angeladikou at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 30 12:19:47 EDT 2017

 Dear Peter,

thank you very much for keeping us updated about recent contributions to the coral reef ecology field and for keeping us needed for recommendations and proposals to turn around and triumph the coral reef crisis. Please allow me to add a few recommendations for the ISRS leadership, for which available NOAA Coral Reef International Projects funding may be utilized for a start:

1.Develop a long-term heterarchy of information flow that allows for the storage and exchange among policy, management, and reef users with thematic units on the main stressors on reefs and (segmented) world wide coverage; allow common appreciation of common impacts and amass cornucopia of available solutions, cornucopia of incentives structures, implementation options; deadlines, recoiled budgets, and deliverables.

2.Organise organic matrices (i.e. decisive networks of randomly selected, willing and capable coral reef stakeholders to discuss and decide on ecological, social, technology, and economic aspects) at various spatial scales, with specific deadlines, recoiled budgets, and deliverables (strategies-programes-projects).

3.Institutionalize the raise of standards of performance for current and future coral reef protected areas; reward those who reach them and replace those who are not willing to reach them; capitalize on positive externalities..

4.Re-examine and re-align priorities about reef stressors that scientists deliver to managers and policy makers through (i)elaboration/integration of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network database with the Coral Trait Database, (ii)translation of the structural indicators of (i) into functional indicators of reef state, that can further and readily be utilized for ecosystem services/goods assessment and economic valuation.

5.Promote transdisciplinary research topics and teams at all levels of the research endeavor, from summer research projects to multinational collaborations.

Exemplary breakthroughers receive the worthy tangible and intagible benefits from the ISRS, policy and the media. By the way, congratulations to Dr Gill who contributed to the sizeable pool of evidence of the species-specific stressors’ interactions on reef corals (albeit mainly on species of Acropora and Porites genera) and to the incipient pool of evidence of how coral reefs may change in the future.

It is my humble opinion that what may be needed are not positive feedback loops but negative (stabilizing) feedback loop for the desired reef state. It can be tested, right?

Thank you for spreading.

Angela Dikou

From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov> on behalf of Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca>
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2017 3:48 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Are reef ecologists capable of building the complex science needed?

I've been silent for a couple of months, growing increasingly concerned that humanity is heading for a big failure on climate change.  I've watched US politics (it's just across the border and hard to avoid) suck up all the oxygen in the media, and with Paris climate agreement now 'old news', the sense that we are making real progress on this front is fading.  For coral reefs, the second major bleaching of GBR in less than a year provides a sorry background to Australia's own political battle over coal, while among the scientists we seem to mostly be arguing about whether reef restoration is worth doing, whether saving 50 reefs is a seriously self-limiting step or a rational approach to a crisis, and even over who first said reefs were in trouble.  Meanwhile our science muddles on.

And so I have written down some thoughts on my blog, that may impress some, and will definitely annoy some others.  It's at http://www.petersalebooks.com/?p=2519

I fear that we are continuing to adopt a business-as-usual approach to doing our science, and that, at least for ecology, business-as-usual is simply not going to be good enough.  I believe that rising above business-as-usual requires a real commitment to doing science well, and that many of us have either never experienced, or have forgotten how to show that commitment.  I also believe that, though we may well be excellent examples of what evolution can achieve, evolution has not equipped us well to do the kind of multifactorial, multidimensional, multiscale evaluations that are necessary when seeking to understand complex ecosystems like reefs.  And I make reference to three very different recent papers in Coral Reefs, each of which has its merits, to reveal the immense complexity contained in those simple - sometimes central - interactions between corals and turf and foliose algae that might help us understand why many reefs degrade, why degraded reefs sometimes recover, a
 nd why we are surrounded by reefs that have only 50% of the living coral they held 40 or so years ago.  Without that fuller understanding, we are in no position to undertake the task of rebuilding reef resilience, or sustaining coral systems through what is surely going to be for them a very difficult couple of decades.

I'll be interested in your insights.

Peter Sale
University of Windsor
sale at uwindsor.ca

Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Coral-List Info Page<http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list>
Coral-List is funded by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program and NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and therefore adopts and is guided by ...

More information about the Coral-List mailing list