The science guiding the action...
Occasionally I will relate some detail about marine eco-systems or restoration methodologies that produce a response challenging my expertise and or methodology. I am always open to criticism and hope that it is presented in a constructive manner. There is a learning curve for even the most knowledgeable and experienced of us. Every challenge is unique. I am the first to admit that we are not all-knowing and we have made mistakes along the way. However our willingness to listen, observe, learn and be flexible has certainly given us the ability to be successful and ultimately moving in the right direction at Coral Restoration Panama.
The following is in response to an inquiry about my source of resources for the informational papers that were used to introduce the concept of Coral Restoration Panama Center and begin the permitting process…..
“The main sources of information for Coral Restoration Panama concerning the restoration of fisheries habitat and coral reefs systems are publications from the Smithsonian Institute, Mote Marine Research Laboratory, Coral Restoration Foundation and publications by Ned DeLoach and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science along with other scientific research papers and articles too numerous to describe. Additional resources are personal contact and “hands-on” training with active Coral restoration practitioners in the greater Caribbean region.
I am not, nor have I ever professed to be a Marine Biologist. I do have an extensive background in animal husbandry and far-reaching real-life experience in natural sciences. Some of my past projects have left a positive impact on the environment that are extensive enough to be visible on Google Earth. For continued success in Coral and Fisheries Habitat Restoration in these waters of Bocas del Toro, I rely on the knowledge and experience of the Marine Biologist Community at large. These supportive Researchers and Institutions continue to share priceless information and advice to us that is directly relevant to our specific goals and needs.
The point of any of our presentations is not to try to keep up with developing academic information about every aspect of marine ecosystems. The idea is to present a comprehensive picture of the stress and challenges being faced by marine eco-systems worldwide with emphasis on cause and effect. The intended focus is on possible solutions and the success of what is being done with the abilities and willingness of a small group of people hoping to continue that effort.
There are probably enough arguable technical aspects to any document attempting to cover such a broad scope to keep several colonies of academics in discussion groups and dissertations for grant proposals for the next generation. By that time it will not matter what fish ate what fish or what constitutes the perfect conditions for coral growth. By that time, the reefs will be dead. They are already in a state of change that will bring on a new “normal” unlike anything we have seen at this point.
The sad truth is, that no matter what we do in the water, nothing will ultimately matter if we, as a species, do not change the way we abuse the oceans. In my opinion, what we are doing by promoting the creation of working coral nurseries is using the inherent beauty and romance of the sea to create a platform whereby we can reach out to upcoming generations. The purpose being to demonstrate, through experiential education, past mistakes and the future promise brought to life by the implementation of a more responsible behavior toward the seas.
Ultimately, our true measure of success will not be whether we succeed in our goal of being able to transplant x-number of new corals each year. What will truly matter is if we are able to influence the emotional responses of enough future generations that environmental preservation becomes a priority and not an afterthought.”