[Coral-List] Restoration and conservation Re: ICRS 2021 meeting session: Can Coral Reef Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Mon Sep 14 16:17:39 UTC 2020

Just to fulfill my role as designated "Listserve Curmudgeon",  I find
myself perplexed by the discussion of what "stability" really is (as well
as a host of other  "good coral" characteristics). This is reminiscent of
past conversations about the relative merits of local versus global
solutions. While I embrace an open discussion of where we are and what we
might try to do, too often these have ended up with heated arguments that
degenerate into opinions about what we "need to do".

While I suspect we can all agree that there are no "bad corals", it is
obvious that funding is limited. So, the question is, "What are we trying
to do?" I have seen too many outplanting projects that focus on rapidly
growing and proliferating species. For example, *A. cervicornis* is a
favorite species because it grows quickly and can even proliferate by
fragmentation. However, despite claims that *A. cervicornis *outplants are
creating "reef structure", truly accretionary structures dominated by this
species are rare and, where they occur they are ephemeral. Ian Macintyere
documented one Holocene example at Galea Point (Panama) and we found
similar structural assemblages in the fossil reefs of the central Dominican
Republic. However, actual physical structures dominated by this species
presently exist at neither site today. There are ephemeral (and large)
stands, but they come and go - so they are not equivalent. What is
different today (all of the above works for me)? Regardless, the fact is
that rapidly accreting (i.e., reef building) and largely monospecific
structures are rare or nonexistent.

So, it seems to come down to what we are trying to do?  Based on my
experiences, actual reef building has yet to be attained by any restoration
project. So, all the functions Curt Storlazzi espouses are not being met.
If the goal is to protect diversity, then even successful single-species
outplanting programs are not going to advance this objective.

As to species resistant to sediment stress, my vote (in the Atlantic and
Caribbean region) is *Siderastrea*.  Back when I believed in artificial
reefs, we moved a large number of colonies of various species (not just for
transplanting but more to get them away from physical damage due to a
marine construction project). After a few years, *Siderastrea* was far and
away the "designated survivor"; not only had it persisted (unlike other
species native to the fringing reef) but it spawned and successfully
colonised artificial surfaces created by the construction. At Cane Bay
(north shore of St. Croix), we did a number of post-storm surveys after
Irma and Maria. I was impressed by the number of healthy colonies of
*Siderastrea* in inshore areas as we swam to the shelf edge. At the time,
there were also significant numbers of outplanted *A. cervicornis* colonies
that looked to be pretty healthy. The latest report is that this is no
longer the case.

By way of a fossil-reef example, we worked in a spectacular Holocene reef
on Hispaniola. The 10-m high outcrop was divided  into an upper reef and a
lower reef separated by an obvious storm layer (detritus from the inshore
shelf). One species survived across the boundary - *Siderastrea* sp. So, if
we are looking for a hearty species that will survive (even if it doesn't
build  a "reef"), this is a good option.

I will advocate no solution but suggest that we spend some time thinking
carefully about what our ultimate goal might be in light of the situation
that presently exists.



On Sat, Sep 12, 2020 at 8:30 AM frahome--- via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

>  To me another big limit of the coral gardening approach is that of the
> huge loss of intra-species biodiversity that it implies.You only garden
> relatively few resistant (to a specific current stressor and adapted to a
> specific site) colonies while most of the colonies in nature are expected
> to die (cause they are not resistant) and with them most of the
> intra-species genetic biodiversity so important to species survival in a
> naturally and unnaturally changing, dynamic and variegated world.Why nobody
> is talking about this aspect? I thought it's very important, am I
> wrong?Francesca
>     On Saturday, September 12, 2020, 12:07:52 AM GMT+2, Sarah Frias-Torres
> via Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
>  Doug
> The science of Ecological Restoration is well established and follows a
> set of science-based principles. I invite you to visit the Society for
> Restoration Ecology web site, which has links to standards and protocols in
> their "Resource Center" tab
> https://www.ser.org/
> Specifically, for coral reef restoration, what you call "planting out
> corals" is just one step in coral gardening, which is one of many
> techniques available in this scientific discipline of restoration ecology.
> The aim of coral reef restoration is to restore ecological function.
> Science-based projects take into account all factors, from local to global
> stressors. Unfortunately, there are many "copy-cats", people that start
> 'planting corals" without going through all the steps of a science-based
> restoration project. Whether it is blind enthusiasm attached to ignorance
> or real malice, it needs evaluation in a case by case basis.
> Also, to clarify a comment about funding (from a post related to this
> one), in my experience, none of the funding I have secured to implement
> coral reef restoration projects was taken away from the funding pie of
> conservation and climate change mitigation. This is not an issue of coral
> reef restoration taking away slices of the funding pie for conservation. We
> are not eating the pie and leaving our conservation colleagues hungry. We
> are making the funding pie bigger.
> None of the coral reef restoration scientists I work with ignores local
> and global stressors to coral reefs. None of us thinks that restoration is
> the magic pill that will save coral reefs. Restoration is one more tool in
> the toolbox of saving coral reefs.
> As I keep repeating over and over, to save coral reefs, conservation,
> restoration, and targeting the climate crisis must all work together.
> Finally, on the Titanic analogy, there was a similar comment ("rearranging
> the deck chairs ") shared at the open forum during ICRS 2016 in Hawaii,
> saying that first, we must stop burning fossil fuels, and stop climate
> change, before we even consider coral reef restoration. My answer to this
> comment was that if we take this approach, there will be no point to do
> restoration by then.
> The futile tug of war between pro-conservation and pro-restoration coral
> reefs scientists is nicely explained in "Coral Whisperers" by Irus
> Braverman. I strongly recommend reading this book to you and folks in
> Coral-list.
> This is not a conservation vs. restoration issue.
> It's not game over.
> It's game on.
> We must fight the coral reef crisis together, not against each other.
> <><...<><...<><...
> 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: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 6:03 PM
> To: Storlazzi, Curt D <cstorlazzi at usgs.gov>
> Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] ICRS 2021 meeting session: Can Coral Reef
> Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?
>   Wouldn't an important aspect be how long improvements in the amount of
> live coral last??  If people plant out 10,000 corals and feel good about
> themselves, but only 100 survive more than 5 years, was it worth it??  This
> is a question which it seems to me the huge number of enthusiastic coral
> restoration people are dodging, and I think it is a critical one.  Bad
> water quality and mass coral bleaching can undo all these good efforts, and
> WILL, if we don't address them, and so far we're failing miserably at
> that.  Isn't this fad just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic???
> Cheers,  Doug
> On Tue, Sep 8, 2020 at 7:05 AM Storlazzi, Curt D via Coral-List <
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> > Dear colleagues:
> >
> > We would like to draw your attention to a meeting session to address:
> >
> > Can Coral Reef Restoration Increase Coastal Protection?
> >
> > at the 2021 International Coral Reef Symposium, which is being held 18-23
> > July 2021 in Bremen, Germany.
> >
> > If your work is relevant to this session please submit an abstract to
> > ICRS20-39 under Theme 13: Interventions and Restoration via the following
> > link:
> >
> > https://www.icrs2021.de/program/call-for-abstracts/
> >
> > Session Description:
> >
> > Coastal flooding and erosion affects thousands of vulnerable coastal
> > communities and has resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in damage
> > during the past decade alone; these impacts are predicted to worsen with
> > continued population growth and climate change. There is growing
> > recognition of the role of coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction
> as
> > they dissipate wave energy and produce and trap sediment on adjacent
> > beaches and thus reduce flooding and erosion. Given these benefits, there
> > is the potential to apply coral reef restoration not only to meet
> > ecological recovery goals such as coral species and reef communities, but
> > also to reduce coastal hazards and build coastal resilience to current
> and
> > future storms. To meet and support these joint objectives, there must be
> > rigorous, quantitative assessments of restoration performance,
> particularly
> > for risk reduction benefits. This mini-symposium focuses on advancements
> in
> > understanding the role of coral reefs in hazard risk reduct
> >  ion, including but not limited to (i) quantifying the roles of coral
> > spacing, morphology, and attachment strength in boundary-layer
> > hydrodynamics; (ii) relating coral species morphology, structural
> > complexity, or reef location to change in hydrodynamic roughness or
> > induction of wave breaking for different environmental forcing
> conditions;
> > (iii) design and siting of reef restoration to best reduce coastal
> flooding
> > for different reef configurations; (iv) comparison of natural green and
> > hybrid gray-green infrastructure in relation to ecological and
> hydrodynamic
> > change; (v) incorporation of ecological connectivity into reef
> restoration
> > site selection; and (vi) cost-benefit analyses of restoration for coastal
> > hazard risk reduction. Summaries of current local or regional-scale
> > studies, including modeling exercises are encouraged, especially if they
> > evaluate social and economic impacts of different restoration options.
> >
> > Please visit the conference website for more information:
> >
> > https://www.icrs2021.de/program/session-program/#c245
> >
> > Abstract submission closes 15 September 2020
> >
> > For further information and all updates, please visit:
> >
> > https://www.icrs2021.de
> >
> > If you know of anyone who might be interested who might not receive this
> > notice, please feel free to pass it along.  We are very excited about
> this
> > session and look forward to your participation. If you have any
> questions,
> > please feel free to contact us. We hope to see you in Bremen!
> >
> > Organizers:
> >
> > Curt Storlazzi - USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
> > Shay Viehman - NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
> > Mike Beck - UCSC Institute of Marine Sciences
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------
> > Curt D. Storlazzi, Ph.D.
> >
> > U.S. Geological Survey
> > Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
> > 2885 Mission Street
> > Santa Cruz, CA 95060
> > (831) 295-3429 cell during COVID-19
> > https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/curt-d-storlazzi
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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Dennis Hubbard - Emeritus Professor: Dept of Geology-Oberlin College
Oberlin OH 44074
(440) 935-4014

* "When you get on the wrong train.... every stop is the wrong stop"*
 Benjamin Stein: "*Ludes, A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream*"

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