Steve Gittings - NOAA Federal steve.gittings at noaa.gov
Tue Jul 28 13:03:00 UTC 2020

Alina - I was part of that 1981 group with Tom Bright at Carysfort Light.
It was with mixed feelings thatI had to leave a couple weeks early to
attend my wedding!  Still, looking back, it was such a privilege to see
such a seemingly healthy place just a few years before the coral world
changed so dramatically.

I like the idea of hearing about places that haven't changed much since the
70s or before.  I'll put the Flower Garden Banks out there.  The earliest
dives and pictures there were in the early 60s and the first measurements
of coral cover in the early 70s.  Very little has changed, though
macroalgae is more persistent since the *Diadema *dieoff.  Coral cover,
which when first measured was just under 50% on the reef caps, is now
closer to 60%.  There are lionfish, but impacts to native fish are not
evident yet, and they are trying to control abundance with culling.  It is
certainly not without threats, but the banks seem to benefit from their


On Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 8:45 AM Alina Szmant via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> Thanks Phil for the nostalgia. I first visited Carysfort in 1981 when I
> stayed for two weeks out at the lighthouse with Tom Bright's group doing
> nutrient uptake experiments with A cervicornis, and it was incredibly
> beautiful. The US Coast Guard had trouble bringing their boats to the
> lighthouse pier because the coral was so thick and shallow everywhere. From
> the light house tower, one could watch giant blue and rainbow parrotfishes
> swimming among the A palmata colonies that extended seaward for 100 m or
> more on the reef flat. When I returned with Peter Glyn  and a class of
> students the spring of 1984, there wasn't any live Acropora coral anywhere
> (we did transects). It was shocking! In the mid 2000's Margaret Miller and
> I tried to do our coral larval rearing research working from the
> lighthouse, and still almost no coral, and the large Orbicella colonies
> were mostly dead as well. I am glad I had a chance to see this reef (and
> many similar ones in Puerto Rico) back in the day, because I am pretty sure
> they won't recover within what is left of my lifetime. There may be great
> live coral gardens in places like the Solomons, but the situation in the
> Caribbean is dire and getting worse in my experience.
> That said: I think it would be useful for Coral-List researchers to start
> a list of places within the Caribbean that are still close to what was the
> norm back in the 1970s. If there are clusters of localities that haven't
> been impacted by bleaching, disease epidemics, flattened by major storms
> but recovered, that would be a worthwhile list to compile and serve as a
> basis for investigating factors that have allowed some places to survive
> while others have succumbed.
> I volunteer to assemble such information if anyone out there is willing to
> share, and I send out an updated list monthly to all on Coral List. If you
> know of sites that still look like the 1975 version of Carysfort and can
> document this with short video, collection of photos or even better...
> data... and want to be part of such an effort, please contact me.
> Best,
> Alina
> *************************************************************************
> Dr. Alina M. Szmant, CEO
> CISME Instruments LLC
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Coral-List <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> On Behalf Of
> Phillip Dustan via Coral-List
> Sent: Monday, July 27, 2020 8:47 AM
> To: Coral List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Subject: [Coral-List] A Swim Through Time on Carysfort Reef
> Hi Listers,
> We talk a lot about  management and conservation but the reality is
> humanity lacks the political will to address the fundamentals unless there
> is a direct and instant return on investment.
> Science tells us that coral reefs are ecosystems, not resources. The very
> adaptations that enable them to thrive in nutrient poor tropical seas
> leaves them vulnerable to humans. Maybe one day we will act on that
> reality, but right now I fear we are just trying to make ourselves feel
> better, or develop a more and more precise way to document the collapse of
> reefs all the while  increasing the level of funding for our labs/agencies.
> This approach has not, and is not working.
>  Something to think about while most of us are out of the water this
> summer.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCPJE7UE6sA
> --
> Phillip Dustan PhD
> Charleston SC  29424
> 843-953-8086 office
> 843-224-3321 (mobile)
> "When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast
> by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the
> universe. "
> *                                         John Muir 1869*
> *Raja Ampat Sustainability Project video*
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RR2SazW_VY&fbclid=IwAR09oZkEk8wQkK6LN3XzVGPgAWSujACyUfe2Ist__nYxRRSkDE_jAYqkJ7A
> *Bali Coral Bleaching 2016 video*
> *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxOfLTnPSUo
> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxOfLTnPSUo>*
> TEDx Charleston on saving coral reefs
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwENBNrfKj4
> Google Scholar Citations:
> https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=HCwfXZ0AAAAJ
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Dr. Steve Gittings, Science Coordinator
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