[Coral-List] Source for "coral occupy <1% of the seafloor but house more than 25% of species"
nicrane at cabrillo.edu
Tue Dec 15 20:15:39 UTC 2020
I do feel sometimes that as biologists we somehow feel we can cite these
numbers as some sort of truism. The fact is that this is what we know at
the moment, but it is what we DO NOT know that is important. But we are
fairly sure of: Coral reefs, like open oceans, have MUCH more diversity
than we know - we just haven't been able to quantify it. Rainforests are
diverse systems indeed, but they require different methods to assess. I
think trying to say one has more than the other is not only counter
productive but probably not scientifically accurate (knowing there are
holes in our knowledge). So, suffice it to say that ALL of these
ecosystems need protection and better understanding, and that we know that
tropical systems in general have higher diversity than temperate (though
that too may prove squishy as we continue to learn more). We do know that
the complexity of relationships and the numbers of trophic levels in both
rainforests and coral reefs make them sensitive to perturbation, and
promote very high diversity both at the species and the functional group
level. Lets not lose the forest for the trees here please?
Nicole L. Crane
Faculty, Cabrillo College
Natural and Applied Sciences
Senior Conservation Scientist, Project co-lead
One People One Reef
On Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 11:11 AM Rupert Ormond via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> Hi Hanny and all,
> Yes, I also have it on good authority that the McAllister report was the
> origin of the 25% figure.
> But it was approximately 25% of MARINE FISH SPECIES. Not of fish species
> (i.e. including freshwater), nor of marine biodiversity in general, let
> alone biodiversity period.
> And it was LESS THAN 1% of the seabed - so I presume the 1% was hardly
> intended as an estimate.
> More generally we should not over-exaggerate the biodiversity of reefs.
> They are stunning - but they do not have the highest biodiversity on the
> planet, as one quite often reads. Try looking at rain forest trees or
> *Prof. Rupert Ormond**
> *Co-Director, Marine Conservation International
> Hon. Professor, Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology,
> Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
> On 14/12/2020 14:53, Hanny Rivera via Coral-List wrote:
> > Hi Benjamin,
> > I wasn't on a quest to discredit the claim. I was simply writing an
> > 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
> > 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
> > don't think there needs to be some kind of crusade to remove those
> > 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
> > seemed that many folks also wanted to know of any more concrete sources
> > similar information.
> > Best,
> > Hanny
> > 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
> >> are discovering, finding the original reference is challenging and even
> >> when you get there it doesn't seem quite right. Also as other people
> >> pointed out in this thread, modern information and tools have updated
> >> distribution of coral reefs and understanding of biodiversity.
> >> What I think is a more interesting question is -* what do we do with
> >> 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
> >> *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
> >> makers less inclined to listen to us. More-over I don't imagine the
> >> is interested in the real number, and just getting the message 'many
> >> species in a small area' is sufficient, whichever way this is
> >> Out of curiosity, why are you on this quest?
> >> Cheers,
> >> Benjo
> >> 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
> >>> 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
> >>> 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
> >>> find) is McAllister 1991. I had to do a lot of digging to find the
> >>> paper, though I finally came across it here:
> >>> As you might see, it's not entirely clear where the numbers come from
> >>> though.
> >>> Dan Barshis
> >>> had pointed me to Smith 1978 (https://www.nature.com/articles/273225a0
> >>> as
> >>> a more viable source for the area estimation (though it's a bit
> >>> and
> >>> 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 (
> >>> https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X17300635)
> >>> which
> >>> was pointed out to me by Dennis Allemand
> >>> Dennis Allemand also has several other references for species #s that
> >>> 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
> >>> https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannyrivera
> >>> http://sites.bu.edu/davieslab/members/
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