Reef restoration. Why or why not?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
07-11-2011, 09:22 AM
Reef restoration. Why or why not?
I must first confess to this idea not being my own. This thread will be based on a lot of work that has been done by Jeremy Jackson and Jere Lipps.

The main topic is should we be trying to restore reefs. I decided to start this thread after reading the Man-Made Global warming thread. So, there are several issues I would like to address regarding this issue.

1) What state are we restoring the reefs to?

2) Are short-term restorations using man-made items sustainable?

3) Are these short-term man-made items even working?


Starting off with point 1 (logically) the biggest issue is what state are we actually trying to restore the reefs to? Are we restoring them back to some point 50 years ago? 1,000 years ago? We are restoring them to some state that we deem the most valuable. We like the big corals and the colorful fish when we go scuba diving. But what if the natural state of that reef also includes a lot of sharks? They kind of hamper tourists from wanting to snorkel. What about reef ecosystems that are not like those of the Great barrier reef? There are natural reef ecosystems that are certainly not as pretty as others, but these seem to take a backseat to the pretty ones. Why do we overlook them? It goes back to our decision about what we value more. And do we even have the right to make that judgement call? I don't think so.

Point 2 & 3. A lot of the short-term fixes include introducing large concrete blocks, shipwrecks, iron cages with electrical currents circulating through them and other man-made objects that are meant to promote coral growth. The issue is that most of these either don't work or do more damage than good. The rebar cages with electrical currents do get some corals to grow on them for a short period of time, but take away the electrical current and it turns out that the material that the corals are precipitating is a mineral called Brucite that is unstable. Not only is it not sustainable over the long-term to continue to supply electricity to these cages, but even the coral that grows on it will die when it is turned off. As for the concrete blocks and other man-made substrates that corals attach to and grow on, these are typically dislodged during big storms. Unlike the seafloor these large blocks move and crush the coral on them and the coral around them. Not very effective in the long-run.

So, let's see what you guys think. My opinion is to leave the reefs alone. That means stop trying to restore them with unnatural products and stop building hotels on top of them. I think we can spend the money we waste on reef restoration on better projects, like trash pick-up.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-11-2011, 09:50 AM
 
RE: Reef restoration. Why or why not?
(07-11-2011 09:22 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  My opinion is to leave the reefs alone. That means stop trying to restore them with unnatural products and stop building hotels on top of them. I think we can spend the money we waste on reef restoration on better projects, like trash pick-up.

I agree 100%.

I don't know much about the issue (haven't studied it yet) but from what you describe it sounds as another gigantic fuck-up in the making.

I have seen a documentary recently (forgot which) about large-scale human interventions.

One of the examples documented was (in India?) the government wanting to solve some flooding problem in a coastal village, so they cut across a send bar that was between a lagoon and the ocean to allow the water to recede quickly.

The next tidal surge destroyed the entire village (after which the water receded quickly).
Quote this message in a reply
07-11-2011, 11:46 AM
RE: Reef restoration. Why or why not?
Another agree.
Let's remove our old shit, like the floating continents of garbage and oil slicks, first, before we put any more new shit in.
Have you seen The World Without Us? Seems, in a few thousand years, it will grow back just fine, once we stop messing it up.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-11-2011, 12:34 PM
RE: Reef restoration. Why or why not?
I only wonder why there is no testing before we put this shit into the water. I read a book on reef restoration a while ago and honestly don't recall much about it as it was not in my field of interest. I remember that they stressed the importance of the reefs to the under water ecology. I am all for attempting to repair damage that we have caused but not before some serious testing and study. No sense making matters worse when like mentioned we could use the time and resources to help solve other problems.
Should we repair the reefs? Sure to some point that is determined using science as the most helpful to the ecosystem, but only using techniques we KNOW work through rigorous testing. No need to add to the destruction we have already caused.
I also think we shouldn't spend so much time worrying about what we like an more time worrying about what's necessary.
PS sharks aren't as bad as people think. Though I'd rather not spend any time around them or anything in the ocean really it's freaky. I can sit on a beach all day but I'm not going in that water yuck.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-11-2011, 02:57 PM
RE: Reef restoration. Why or why not?
I haven't seen or read "The World Without Us" but I will give that a good look.

The biggest threat to the corals is ocean acidification as a result of the rate of outgassing of CO2 caused by humans. Rates of CO2 release that are over long time scales can be buffered by the oceans so that there is no appreciable decrease in pH. But the rate at which it is currently being released will cause serious acidification issues. And when you make your shell out of calcite or aragonite, that is bad news. These two minerals react strongly with acid and dissolve. Acidification inhibits them from producing shells. This is an issue that we CANNOT restore. This simply takes time for the natural system to buffer the pH.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-11-2011, 03:09 PM
 
RE: Reef restoration. Why or why not?
(07-11-2011 02:57 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I haven't seen or read "The World Without Us" but I will give that a good look.

It was also on a fantastic documentary film, not too long ago -- see if you can get hold of that as well. It is well worth the effort of trying to find it!
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: