[Coral-List] Call to Action Re: New paper on coral bleaching in Science

Nicole Crane nicrane at cabrillo.edu
Tue Jan 16 11:21:30 EST 2018

Well said Damien.  The reality is that we need all these - we need the
science, we need the communication, and we need people who understand
diverse cultures and approaches to work in some of these regions.  ALL
these are needed.  Without the science, we cannot communicate the details
(which are important), without the diversity in approach and communication,
we cannot put the science to action.  Science communication has been a
problem for a very long time, and its getting worse - in part because of
what Damien brings up - we are not diversifying our methods of accepting
people into graduate programs or even undergraduate.  In fact in many ways
the field has narrowed even more.

Ocean management (like terrestrial) has sometimes been underscored with
poor approaches and misinformed methods - in part because managers and
politicians often don't collaborate closely enough with scientists.  If
science keeps operating in a bubble with papers being read predominantly by
peers and colleagues, then this will only get worse. But Damien, it is not
only the 'coral community' that is 'aging', but indeed the higher education
administration community even more so.  It is not until we change the
expectations of the academic researchers, the diversification of their job
descriptions, and the qualifications of those accepted into programs, that
we can really put a dent into this problem.  That, unfortunately, is beyond
the scope of this forum!

I want to make sure and acknowledge my colleagues in academia who DO step
outside the box, and who DO try and address this issue. There are some
excellent examples.  However, most of those do it 'against the stream' and
don't receive loads of job-related benefits for their non-technical
outreach/communication efforts.  There are many out there who would like to
change this.  How?  It involves moving a freight train - possible, but not
easy.  In the scramble to do the research, get the grants, publish the
papers, advance to tenure etc. etc. that piece seems largely unaddressed.

But I am ever an optimist and believe the train can be redirected...


Nicole L. Crane
Faculty, Cabrillo College
Natural and Applied Sciences

Senior Conservation Scientist, Project co-lead
One People One Reef

On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 4:25 PM, Damien Beri <beridl at g.cofc.edu> wrote:

> “As far as best strategies, I almost feel like it would be better to
> drastically improve our science communication to the public. I think there
> are still far too many people out there who either don't know the issue
> exists (or think the reefs are doing well), don't know what they can do, or
> know what they can do but think it's hopeless anyways so why bother acting.
> If we can get a lot of the public on our side, we have their power as
> consumers and voters to help us in begging the legislature to listen to our
> science.”
> Response:
> I agree with what you say about Coral Restoration and it not being a
> solution and a possible vector for complacency (people feeling that they
> don’t need to change their lives drastically to better the planet).
> However people need to see that it is possible for direct human
> intervention to assist in recovery.
> I would like to add however that you are more than correct with regards to
> the science community adopting different communication methods.  It’s a
> shame that most people who want to study coral reef science need a minimum
> of 3.5 GPA or better to even have a shot at being accepted to a school.
> It’s not all about how much you know, or how well you take tests.  Much of
> what today’s generation relates to is social media platforms.  If coral
> science wants to make an impact they need to step their game up on
> platforms that people actually care about, not whine about reef degradation
> to their fellow peers on a server that speaks only to one group of people..
> I see little to no effort from the science community to venture out into
> different fields.  How is it that only last year “Chasing Coral” was the
> first major media publication to highlight the destruction of coral reefs..
> And even so, sadly that hype came and went within a week.  Great movie,
> great message, short fuse.
> The coral science community is an aging group, with predominantly elder
> scientists running the show.  This group will die alongside the coral reefs
> if new tools for restoration are not adopted.  It is a shame how
> universities select for students based on their GPA and how well they apply
> for scholarships, and fail to look at what that applicant has physically
> done with their time to better the planet.  And that doesn’t mean what
> research they helped conduct, but what impact they truly made on the
> world... on their own, without piggybacking on professors work. What type
> of new skills these kids can bring to the table with their own imagination.
> Because frankly, everything that has been done up to date is not working,
> and it’s just bothering the heck out of all of us, causing us to battle and
> bicker against ourselves rather than the real problem.
> Personally, I have resentments towards universities because I have been
> turned down for higher education countless times for my GPA of 2.8. I know
> my part in this, I messed around in college like a lot of my peers.  But
> guess what, my peers didn’t need 3.5 GPAs to go on to higher education.
> They also didn’t need higher education to even get a worthwhile job, or
> receive grant money which is the marine science communities Holy Grail.
> What universities really don’t understand however, is the ability for some
> of us to think outside the box.  A company I created to educate my peers in
> a way they can respect and relate to has raised funds, awareness, and
> respect for Coral reefs and Active restoration. Currently “Reefined Arts”
> has raised thousands of dollars for NGOs, Planted thousands of Corals,
> employed locals, and tapped into an entirely new market, and generated a
> self sufficient ever growing social media presence.
> Do universities or any of you care about this? Probably not, and that’s
> the real issue.  Few of you see the power of those who think outside the
> box.  And ever more of you fail to see that science alone will not save our
> planet.  Adapting to new markets, and new trends is what will make the most
> impact.  Enough said.
> Warm Regards,
> Damien Beri
> Founder: Reefined Arts
> B.S. Biology
> The college of Charleston
> Coral/Aquarium Specialist
> > On Jan 10, 2018, at 9:26 AM, Cummings, Katy <Katy.Cummings at MyFWC.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > Hi Sarah,
> >
> >
> > Thanks for the call to arms! I am a supporter of coral reef restoration,
> but don't see how putting coral restoration first is the solution here. The
> first step in restoring an ecosystem is to remove the stressors - which we
> haven't done for coral reefs. How can we 'restore' a reef in a degraded
> environment that is no longer conducive to them? You are right in saying we
> need to stop burning fossil fuels at the rate we do (and stop pollution,
> coastal development, restore herbivore populations, etc. etc. etc) - and
> those are the things we need to do first before moving on to restoration.
> There have been few studies looking at the long-term success of outplanting
> projects, but with all the tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of
> thousands?) of corals outplanted on to the Florida Reef Tract in the past
> couple decades I would expect to see the reef recovering... it is not. Most
> of the Acropora I've seen planted just become damselfish nests in a few
> years. And even if these outplanted corals spawn, they're not successfully
> recruiting to the reef.
> >
> >
> > I am more hopeful about all the work being done to select for phenotypes
> that are more resistant to certain stressors. But if we still have a
> recruitment problem, I fear we're going to end up having to continually
> replant the reef until (if?) we solve the overarching problems.
> >
> >
> > On that note, I've also spoken to quite a few people down in the Keys
> about the status of Florida's coral. Many of them thought the reefs were
> doing great because of all the restoration happening on them. That's a
> pretty dangerous outlook - it lets people think we have solved the problem
> and they don't need to change anything about their own lives or be more
> active in speaking up on behalf of the reef. I know there's a balance
> between making people feel hopeful about the future and not depressing them
> to the point where they feel like it's hopeless to act further, but
> restoration needs to be clearer to the public about what it can and can not
> do. I feel that all restoration is doing at this point is maybe buying the
> reef some time so that we can solve the actual problems. Is that correct?
> Or are we trying to selectively breed coral to create a reef that is
> resilient in the face of everything humans throw at them?
> >
> > Those are my concerns and questions about restoration, and I look
> forward to seeing responses!  As far as best strategies, I almost feel like
> it would be better to drastically improve our science communication to the
> public. I think there are still far too many people out there who either
> don't know the issue exists (or think the reefs are doing well), don't know
> what they can do, or know what they can do but think it's hopeless anyways
> so why bother acting. If we can get a lot of the public on our side, we
> have their power as consumers and voters to help us in begging the
> legislature to listen to our science.
> >
> >
> > Thank you,
> >
> > Katy
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list-bounces at coral.
> aoml..noaa.gov> on behalf of Sarah Frias-Torres <sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
> >
> > Sent: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 11:08 AM
> > To: Mark Eakin - NOAA Federal; Coral Listserver
> > Subject: [Coral-List] Call to Action Re: New paper on coral bleaching in
> Science
> >
> > As Pogo says, "We have met the enemy, and he is us"
> >
> >
> > The recent Science paper (Hughes et al 2018;
> http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6371/80) shows a bleak global
> picture for coral reefs. We must stop burning fossil fuels if we want a
> future for coral reefs as we know them..
> >
> >
> > At this crossroads, we can either give up or keep fighting.
> >
> >
> > I choose to fight.
> >
> >
> > This is a Call to Action to those who still want to fight, against all
> odds, so coral reefs will have a future.
> >
> >
> > We have many strategies on the table. It's uncertain which strategy is
> going to work.
> >
> >
> > From the angle of coral reef restoration, I call on the restoration
> community to work together, to share failures and successes and move
> towards large-scale restoration.
> >
> >
> > To the critics of coral reef restoration, I ask you to work with us.
> Don't just say: "this won't work". Give us constructive criticism, share
> your concerns with us. Is it a failure of the scientific process (validity
> of hypothesis testing) or is it an engineering concern (bringing the
> process to scale)?. The solution is very different in each case.
> >
> >
> > For everyone on this list, let's find ways to work together, from
> science to implementation, to communication, to everything in between.
> >
> >
> > It's all hands on deck now.
> >
> >
> > Sarah Frias-Torres, PhD
> >
> > Twitter: @GrouperDoc
> > Science Blog: https://grouperluna.com/
> > Art Blog: https://oceanbestiary.com/
> > [https://s0.wp.com/i/blank.jpg]<https://oceanbestiary.com/>
> >
> > Ocean Bestiary<https://oceanbestiary.com/>
> > oceanbestiary.com
> > She was a clone. Not unique, not original, unable to make a difference.
> Inside her… it was growing. The precious cargo released only once every
> year, at the same ...
> >
> >
> >
> > https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sarah_Frias-Torres
> > [https://c5.rgstatic.net/m/437738464651637/images/
> template/default/profile/profile_default_xl.jpg]<https:
> //www.researchgate.net/profile/Sarah_Frias-Torres>
> >
> > Sarah Frias-Torres | Smithsonian Institution, DC | on ...<
> https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sarah_Frias-Torres>
> > www.researchgate.net
> > Sarah Frias-Torres of Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. with
> expertise in Evolutionary Biology, Biology is on ResearchGate. Read 25
> publications, 1 question ...
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list-bounces at coral.
> aoml...noaa.gov> on behalf of Mark Eakin - NOAA Federal <
> mark.eakin at noaa.gov>
> > Sent: Friday, January 5, 2018 12:07 PM
> > To: Coral Listserver
> > Subject: [Coral-List] New paper on coral bleaching in Science
> >
> > For the first time, an international team of researchers has measured the
> > escalating rate of coral bleaching at locations throughout the tropics
> over
> > the past four decades. The study documents a dramatic shortening of the
> gap
> > between pairs of bleaching events, threatening the future existence of
> > these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people.
> >
> > "The time between bleaching events at each location has diminished
> > five-fold in the past 3-4 decades, from once every 25-30 years in the
> early
> > 1980s to an average of just once every six years since 2010," says lead
> author
> > Prof Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral
> Reef
> > Studies (Coral CoE).
> >
> > “Reefs have entered a distinctive human-dominated era – the
> Anthropocene,”
> > said co-author, Dr C. Mark Eakin of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric
> > Administration, USA. "The climate has warmed rapidly in the past 50
> years,
> > first making El Niños dangerous for corals, and now we're seeing the
> > emergence of bleaching in every hot summer."
> > For more, see the full paper at:
> > https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=
> http%3A%2F%2Fscience..sciencemag.org%2Fcontent%2F359%2F6371%2F80&data=02%
> 7C01%7C%7C28c288a0e1314412a06d08d554606f2c%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaa
> aaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636507695516397420&sdata=%2FOiYD4VTlVb%
> 2BnUWgRfXbfPnwRT6ZA80OXJ48dtqH0Aw%3D&reserved=0
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Mark
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------
> > C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
> > Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
> > National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
> > Center for Satellite Applications and Research
> > Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
> > e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
> > url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov
> > Twitter: @CoralReefWatch FB: Coral Reef Watch
> >
> > NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP)
> > 5830 University Research Ct., E/RA32
> > College Park, MD 20740
> > Office: (301) 683-3320     Fax: (301) 683-3301
> > Mobile: (301) 502-8608    SOCD Office: (301) 683-3300
> >
> > “You would have to reject the “greenhouse effect” outright to conclude
> that
> > human activities pumping millions of tons of CO2 and other greenhouse
> > gases into the atmosphere every year are having little or no impact on
> the
> > earth’s climate. That is simply not a tenable position."
> > William K. Reilly, EPA Administrator under President George H.W. Bush,
> > June 18 2014
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