Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t observa; Peter Ridd is right – the Great Barrier Reef is not in immediate danger of dying. James Cook University, Peter Ridd’s adversary in his unfair dismissal court case, has just slightly walked back some of their more ridiculous Great Barrier Reef extinction claims.
Coral count rethinks extinction risk
The global extinction risk of most coral species is lower than previously estimated, scientists in North Queensland claim.
In a world-first, researchers at James Cook University have assessed the number of coral colonies in the Pacific Ocean and evaluated their risk of extinction.
The study measured the population sizes of more than 300 individual coral species on reefs across the Pacific Ocean, from Indonesia to French Polynesia.
Using a combination of coral reef habitat maps and counts of coral colonies to estimate species abundances, they estimate roughly half a trillion corals in the Pacific alone.
Given the huge size of these coral populations, researchers believe it is very unlikely that they face imminent extinction.
Co-author Professor Terry Hughes stated while the study results have huge implications for managing and restoring coral reefs, it is is not the solution to climate change.
“You would have to grow about 250 million adult corals to increase coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef by just one percent.”
…Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/coral-count-rethinks-extinction-risk/ar-BB1e7fD5
The abstract of the study;
The population sizes and global extinction risk of reef-building coral species at biogeographic scales
Knowledge of a species’ abundance is critically important for assessing its risk of extinction, but for the vast majority of wild animal and plant species such data are scarce at biogeographic scales. Here, we estimate the total number of reef-building corals and the population sizes of more than 300 individual species on reefs spanning the Pacific Ocean biodiversity gradient, from Indonesia to French Polynesia. Our analysis suggests that approximately half a trillion corals (0.3 × 1012–0.8 × 1012) inhabit these coral reefs, similar to the number of trees in the Amazon. Two-thirds of the examined species have population sizes exceeding 100 million colonies, and one-fifth of the species even have population sizes greater than 1 billion colonies. Our findings suggest that, while local depletions pose imminent threats that can have ecologically devastating impacts to coral reefs, the global extinction risk of most coral species is lower than previously estimated.Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01393-4
Professor Terry Hughes, whose name appears on this paper, lodged official complaints about Peter Ridd, and in my opinion contributed to Peter Ridd’s dismissal for the crime of being right.
On one hand it is a positive that coral science seems to be edging towards a much needed correction.
But this slight shift towards Peter Ridd’s position, that claims the Great Barrier Reef is on the verge of extinction are grossly exaggerated, in my opinion puts James Cook University into an even more untenable position.
The sooner James Cook University apologises and settles Peter Ridd’s unfair dismissal claim, the better it will be for their long journey back to restoring James Cook’s in my opinion shattered scientific reputation.