[Coral-List] Bleaching

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Wed Apr 20 13:44:48 UTC 2022


Thanks for the update. While I applaud these efforts to do "anything", I am
still disheartened by 6-year survivorship being portrayed as a "success"
when I think of the prior life-expectancy of natural colonies when I lived
on St. Croix. When I resided in the USVI, I saw *A. palmata* decline due to
both local (tourism, clearing of steep upland areas) and global sources
(climate change). Unfortunately, each time I return, I see more and more
dead colonies, dominated in significant part by clearly out-planted
colonies (I see an increasing density of the hardware associated with the
now-dead outplants. In these cases, nearly all efforts are deployed from
shore owing to the narrow shelf. So, while I recognize the importance of
these attempts, I do have to be concerned that too many folks will take the
positive slant of the reports (and, in some cases, characterizing these as
(artificial *"reefs*") to suggest that things are either "under control" or
"measurably improved".



On Mon, Apr 18, 2022 at 7:46 AM Austin Bowden-Kerby via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> Dear Bill and Steve,
> Please name the restoration efforts being promoted as quick fix solutions-
> if you know of any please point them out!  Here and now- please!  Don't be
> shy, or polite- if any org or institution is misleading people by saying
> that they have a quick fix solution to coral reef decline that makes
> climate action less urgent, single them out, but please don't cast doubt on
> the entire coral restoration field.  Even if not intentioned and with your
> disclaimers, we have been burned so many times in the past that any heat at
> all is excruciating!
> I have on this list recently called out at least three publications for
> reporting on the decimated reefs of Kiribati with a positive twist!  They
> all celebrated a so-called recovery and/or evidence of adaptation in the
> titles, while glossing over the horrific reality of the local extinction of
> >200 coral species, and a total community shift on the one 'recovering'
> atoll- from Acopora dominated before the 30 months of bleaching over 5
> years, to a coral community dominated by *Porites rus*.  Total species
> shift, low biodiversity, and mass extinction of species, and they glossed
> it all over!  This amounts to misleading the world that coral reefs will be
> able to cope with climate change just fine!  And so now the government of
> Kiribati believes that everything is going to be just fine, and
> these officials must think I am an alarmist kook!   The scientific
> community has failed Kiribati, in spite of it being the leading edge of the
> collapse of coral reefs from mass bleaching, with only 5 atolls out of 33
> even visited and sampled since their collapse in 2015-16.
> I am calling some of you on this list out for perpetuating a continuing and
> oppressive negative generalization about restoration, as it negatively
> impacts some very good work that is vital for the future survival of coral
> species and coral reefs.  Please either be specific about a particular
> article you read or a specific project, or stop it!   This general
> negativism about restoration continues to impact many good efforts that you
> may not be aware of.  One example of coral restoration that has been highly
> effective is in the Caribbean, where the small efforts in multiple
> countries have turned around the near extinction and the multiple local
> extinctions of Acropora corals in the wider Caribbean region.  This work is
> responsible for a large portion of coral biomass and restored Acropora
> breeding populations in the region, and has been highly successful. It has
> not been a quick-fix, and because the decline was mostly due to disease and
> hurricanes, it does not solve the impacts of climate change, and no one is
> saying that it does!
> Perhaps this sort of negativity is cultural and simply reflects the
> pervasive negativity which has become the dominant culture of academia in
> the USA? Or perhaps you are referring to what is happening in Florida and
> GBR, and the various flashy high tech solutions being proposed and funded
> by millions of dollars there?  Please realize that none of our work in the
> developing world is along those lines. We have not seen any big funds
> either, perhaps because our potential donors are impacted by your
> negativity?
> From my experience doing this for longer than anyone in both the Caribbean
> and South Pacific, most restoration in the developing world nations is very
> poorly funded, and it is being carried out by small-scale NGOs working with
> communities, and on a shoestring as a service to the world, as acts of love
> and points of light in a gloomy and depressing time. The goal of most of
> these efforts now is to keep declining coral species alive where they are
> dying out, and to maintain these species in a healthy and reproductive
> condition, knowing that the struggle has just begun, foreseeing a future of
> increasing heat waves, and hopefully working on strategies to get the more
> heat adapted corals out of the hottest reef areas and into cooler reefs, as
> insurance for their future survival.
> In the less developed world, there has been essentially no coral focused
> action by governments, neither by the scientific community, nor by the big
> NGOs, with very few exceptions, to secure coral species from decline. Local
> people have grown tired of seeing their reefs decline, and they want to do
> something about it and to get involved.  Fragments of Hope in Belize:
> https://fragmentsofhope.org/  Corals for Conservation in Fiji:
> www.corals4conservation.org and the Coral Gardeners in Moorea:
> www.coralgardeners.org and many other coral focused organizations have
> formed in this vacuum of inaction, and there has been much success in spite
> of opposition from "well meaning but misguided" scientists.
> If you think that coral species and coral reef restoration efforts need
> more science, we agree-, so please come help!  Stop criticizing and start
> acting!  All those with a "humble attitude of learning" are welcome- the
> culture of academic arrogance that sometimes prevails is not part of our
> operational culture in the islands. We can offer housing and boat support
> in our Fiji sites for seasoned researchers and grad students who are
> serious about focusing on the outcomes of facilitated natural recovery and
> coral based restoration work.  We have sites in seven Pacific Island
> countries so far, but due to a lack of human resources and funds, minimal
> science is being conducted alongside the work. We see some amazing results
> and natural synergies, but often with only a few photos to back
> observations up.
> It is strikingly clear now that science will not save the planet- people
> will save the planet, and only some of those people will be scientists.
> All of the amazing work that coral reef scientists have done and are doing
> on coral reefs, all the incredible diverse species and amazing
> relationships, now stand gravely threatened, and so all of this collection
> of information, should corals and coral reefs become extinct, will become
> rather useless paleontology.  We will only know what was lost.  We are on
> the leading edge of the planetary collapse and 6th extinction- why do we
> pretend that everything is normal?
> In our coral reef adaptation/ restoration sites, we are operating with
> mostly unpublished yet so far highly effective strategies and methods.  Now
> in partnership with the Coral Gardeners and others for a regional youth
> focused strategy, we are refocusing to empower island kids to save coral
> species from dying out in their reefs over the next 30-50 years, providing
> the strategies, tools, training and hopefully materials and funds that they
> need for effectiveness. Translocation of corals from hot to cooler reefs is
> just one of five adaptation strategies, which are frankly more adaptation
> focused than restoration focused at this critical time in history:
> *https://reefresilience.org/case-studies/south-pacific-restoration/
> <https://reefresilience.org/case-studies/south-pacific-restoration/>*
> Thanks for listening,
> Austin
> Austin Bowden-Kerby, PhD
> Corals for Conservation
> P.O. Box 4649 Samabula, Fiji Islands
> https://www.corals4conservation.org
> https://www.facebook.com/C4Conservation
> TEDx talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PRLJ8zDm0U
> https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-massive-coral-bleaching/
> <
> https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-massive-coral-bleaching/
> >
> Teitei Livelihoods Centre
> Km 20 Sigatoka Valley Road, Fiji Islands
> (679) 938-6437
> http:/www.
> <
> http://permacultureglobal.com/projects/1759-sustainable-environmental-livelihoods-farm-Fiji
> >
> teiteifiji.org
> http://permacultureglobal.com/projects/1759-sustainable-environmental-livelihoods-farm-Fiji
> https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/happy-chickens-for-food-security-and-environment-1/
> On Thu, Apr 14, 2022 at 12:30 AM Steve Mussman via Coral-List <
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> >
> > Bill, you have clearly pointed out an inconvenient aspect of all this
> that
> > many here would prefer to avoid.
> >
> > Although there are a number of restoration efforts worthy of praise that
> > nobly fulfill John’s expectations, some of the most prominent and
> > well-funded projects have chosen instead to strategically avoid placing
> due
> > emphasis on the imperative need to address climate change and other major
> > stressors. Until this changes, I’m afraid we will continue to miss out on
> > what could be a “potent political opportunity” to utilize perhaps the
> most
> > visible aspect of the coral sciences to bring about much needed change.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Steve
> >
> > On 4/12/22, 7:51 AM, Bill Allison via Coral-List <
> > coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> >
> > "... reef restoration programs acting in concert provide a potent
> >
> > political opportunity to influence their national governments to support
> >
> > the UN-based global efforts to control greenhouse gases and other factors
> >
> > inimical to the survival of coral reefs."
> >
> > OR
> >
> > "reef restoration programs" masquerading as a solution provide a
> rationale
> >
> > for kicking the addressing-causes-can down the road.
> >
> > "cheers"
> >
> > Bill
> >
> > On Tue, Apr 12, 2022 at 6:59 AM John Ogden via Coral-List <
> >
> > coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> >
> > > Dear Friends on Coral-List,
> >
> > >
> >
> > > The good news that Austin Bowden-Kirby highlights in his recent post
> >
> > > concerns the global growth surge in reef restoration schemes and
> programs
> >
> > > and shows clearly that people care about coral reefs and are unwilling
> to
> >
> > > wait for government to act and watch them die without trying to do
> >
> > > something to help. This kind of hands-on volunteerism is too rare and
> >
> > > important not to take full advantage of on the political stage. In my
> >
> > > opinion Coral Gardeners and other reef restoration programs acting in
> >
> > > concert provide a potent political opportunity to influence their
> > national
> >
> > > governments to support the UN-based global efforts to control
> greenhouse
> >
> > > gases and other factors inimical to the survival of coral reefs.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > https://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> https://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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*"

More information about the Coral-List mailing list