[Coral-List] BBC coral bioengineering article

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Fri May 3 16:19:43 UTC 2019

We must focus our efforts in conservation, restoration, energy transition (from burning fossil fuels to using renewable energy) and carbon sequestration (drawdown).
The "funding pie" for conservation is different than the one for restoration. And we can aim to make both pies bigger.
We are capable of doing all these actions and we have the technology we need already. We lack the social and political will to do so.
To my knowledge, nobody working in the coral reef restoration field has ever said to do restoration without addressing global climate change.
Let's find solutions together, the whole coral reef community. Otherwise, there's no future for coral reefs.


Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.
Twitter: @GrouperDoc
Science Blog: https://grouperluna.com/
Art Blog: https://oceanbestiary.com/

From: Coral-List <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> on behalf of Douglas Fenner via Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:52 PM
To: Steve Mussman
Cc: coral list
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] BBC coral bioengineering article

To boil it down:  What if we could restore all the coral that has been
killed, and the next mass bleaching event or disease kills all that coral
and we are right back to where we were, except that in the mean time carbon
emissions continue unabated or even increase?? (they are increasing
currently in the states due to the strong economy, they are ABOVE "business
as usual", so far all the efforts to reduce them haven't even kept them
down to "business as usual" which is on track currently for 4 C or even 6 C
increase over pre-industrial, which will be lethal for corals, not to
mention people.  No "super corals" can take 6 C, probably not 4 C,
according to Bay et al, 2017, current "best available science."  So the big
question for me is, "isn't restoration wasted effort and money, if we don't
solve the root problem, which is emissions???"
       Growing coral and restoring is great.  BUT, if we don't solve the
root problem, the reef is doomed.  No???  So where should the emphasis be??
        Sorry for such a down message, but if we don't face up to reality
and get the root problem fixed, reefs and a lot of humans are doomed
(entire countries are likely to be uninhabitable in the future, too hot for
human survival, it's that bad).
         Cheers, Doug

Bay, R.A., Rose, Logan, and Palumbi.  2017.  Genomic models predict
successful coral adaptation if future ocean warming rates are reduced.
Scientific Advances  3: e1701413.

On Thu, May 2, 2019 at 7:05 AM Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Hi Doug,
> I just got around to reading the article that you posted last week and for
> me, it raised a number of difficult philosophical questions which I would
> like to share with you and other listers to see if anyone else is similarly
> conflicted.
> https://www.bbcearth.com/blog/?article=saving-coral
> It seems to me that there is now great emphasis being put on restoration
> in one form or another. Certainly all of these efforts are different and
> are being utilized in response to a variety of different conditions found
> on reefs around the world. I don’t mean to take issue in every case and I
> firmly believe that there is a lot we can learn from this line of work, but
> there seems to be another side to this that is somewhat troublesome. Using
> this article as an example, I would say that there is a risk that too
> much emphasis is being put on restoration as a solution. Why bother
> addressing the primary stressors if we can simply and cost-effectively
> geoengineer our way out of this mess?
> The end of the article emphasizes my point.
> “Literally for $1m or $2m I could take elk horn coral off the endangered
> species list in Florida within just a few years,” says Dave Vaughan, who
> believes his simple microfragmentation technique is ready to change the
> world.. If somebody asked me if I could take the polar bear off the
> endangered species list for $100m, I would have to say no, I can’t do it.
> But a species of coral? I’d say $10m, tops - and I can do it in two
> years.The question clearly is not if we can save the coral reefs, but if we
> choose to”.
> So, it is interesting to me that some people are making these claims
> without mentioning the imperative need to address the varied stressors that
> continue to plague our coral reefs. Can elk horn coral actually be brought
> back to Florida’s reefs through “microfragmentation” in just two years? Can
> these corals be engineered to withstand all that the naturally occurring
> corals in the Keys have been subjected to over the years? Can these new
> super corals take on poor water quality, eutrophication and climate
> change? . . . That’s quite a feat I would say and all for “$10 million
> tops”.
> If this is true, we should get right on it, if it is hyperbole, we need to
> tread more carefully.
> Perhaps there is a middle road . . . Or perhaps I’m being too critical.
> Steve
> Sent from my iPad

Douglas Fenner
Ocean Associates, Inc. Contractor
NOAA Fisheries Service
Pacific Islands Regional Office
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

New book "The Uninhabitable Earth"  First sentence: "It is much, much worse
than you think."
Read first (short) chapter open access:

Want a Green New Deal?  Here's a better one.

Nations falling short of emissions cuts set by Paris climate pact, analysis
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

More information about the Coral-List mailing list