[Coral-List] Source for "coral occupy <1% of the seafloor but house more than 25% of species"
hrivera28 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 14 14:53:38 UTC 2020
I wasn't on a quest to discredit the claim. I was simply writing an article
on the benefits of coral reefs and wanted to be able to cite things
properly, hence my trying to track down a primary source for that number as
opposed to a website or something.
I agree with you that for public understanding, communicating that coral
reefs have a small area but host lots of species is sufficient. I certainly
don't think there needs to be some kind of crusade to remove those numbers
from the public sphere. They serve a useful purpose and are accurate in
overall meaning, even if they are more of a back-of-the-envelope type
calculation. I just figured I would share the sources I did find, since it
seemed that many folks also wanted to know of any more concrete sources for
On Mon, Dec 14, 2020 at 9:30 AM Benjamin Cowburn <
benjamindcowburn at googlemail.com> wrote:
> Hi Hanny et al.,
> I have just always assumed this 25% of biodiversity claim is bogus. As you
> are discovering, finding the original reference is challenging and even
> when you get there it doesn't seem quite right. Also as other people have
> pointed out in this thread, modern information and tools have updated the
> distribution of coral reefs and understanding of biodiversity.
> What I think is a more interesting question is -* what do we do with this
> fact now?*
> *Pure Scientist Opinion: *Knowing the actual number of species on reefs
> is important and a further analysis should be done to reassess this fact.
> *Practical Opinion:* This fact has been recycled and regurgitated by
> numerous authors, journalists and governments. Casting doubt around its
> validity may damage the reputation of coral reef science and make decision
> makers less inclined to listen to us. More-over I don't imagine the public
> is interested in the real number, and just getting the message 'many
> species in a small area' is sufficient, whichever way this is communicated.
> Out of curiosity, why are you on this quest?
> On Sat, 12 Dec 2020 at 17:53, Hanny Rivera via Coral-List <
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
>> Hi all!
>> A while back, I had written asking for help tracking down the source for
>> this statement. Thank you to all who responded and helped! There were a
>> number of folks who also asked me to let them know what I found. Sorry for
>> the long delay! A recent twitter post reminded me I hadn't followed up.
>> Anyways: The original reference (at least the most original that I could
>> find) is McAllister 1991. I had to do a lot of digging to find the actual
>> paper, though I finally came across it here:
>> As you might see, it's not entirely clear where the numbers come from
>> Dan Barshis
>> had pointed me to Smith 1978 (https://www.nature.com/articles/273225a0)
>> a more viable source for the area estimation (though it's a bit outdated)
>> Fisher et al 2015 (
>> https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982214016236) as a
>> reference for species richness on reefs.
>> A more recent area estimate is Spalding et al. 2001 (
>> was pointed out to me by Dennis Allemand
>> Dennis Allemand also has several other references for species #s that live
>> on reefs in his paper (
>> on page 2.
>> Thanks again all! Hope this is helpful for folks going forward.
>> Best, Hanny
>> Hanny E. Rivera, Ph.D.
>> Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer
>> Boston University, Biology Department
>> Davies Marine Population Genomics Lab
>> Coral-List mailing list
>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Hanny E. Rivera, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer
Boston University, Biology Department
Davies Marine Population Genomics Lab
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