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Coral WhisperersScientists on the Brink$
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Irus Braverman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520298842

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520298842.001.0001

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“And Then We Wept”

“And Then We Wept”

Coral Death on Record

(p.71) Chapter 2 “And Then We Wept”
Coral Whisperers

Irus Braverman

University of California Press

Chapter 2, ““And Then We Wept”: Coral Death on Record,” documents the despair side of the pendulum as it contemplates the existing modes and technologies for recording coral bleaching and death. Here, the trajectory is typically of devastation and gloom, as the numbers are depressing at best. Much of the chapter focuses on the third global bleaching event at the Great Barrier Reef, documenting how scientists have both recorded and narrated this event to themselves and to the general public. I examine the role of monitoring in particular, considering whether enhancing scientific knowledge about corals through monitoring is an act of hope, in that it supports conservation action, or one of despair, as it stifles such action and masks the resulting inaction with more and more monitoring. Finally, the chapter shows that even in the world of numbers and maps, “bright spots” and optimistic indexes still rear their more hopeful heads.

Keywords:   coral bleaching, Coral Reef Watch, Great Barrier Reef, symbiosis, bright spots, global warming, Sea Surface Temperature (SST), shifting baseline

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