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Quotations

"Every conservationist understands how socioeconomic and often also personal aspects can impact conservation. In my opinion 90% of any conservation issue deals with humans, whatever species or habitat we are dealing with."(Fabio Ausenda, 1997)

"You talk to people who use blasting or cyanide and they say they have to do it to eat." (Nenny Babo, Indonesian environmental activist, 1996.)

"Coral reefs are the most biodiverse of all known marine ecosystems, and maintain much higher genetic diversity than tropical rainforests. They therefore represent the world’s most significant storehouse of potential future products." (John McManus, The International Coral Reef Initiative: Partnership Building and Framework Development, report of the ICRI Workshop, Dumaguete City, The Philippines, 29 May-2 June 1995.)

"However, the value, risk of loss, and even the amount of biodiversity on coral reefs (and in the marine environment in general) has received relatively little attention by the scientific community, which is based largely in northern temperate zones and is focused primarily on the terrestrial environment." (Marjorie L. Reaka-Kudla, in Reaka-Kudla et. al. [eds] Biodiversity II. Washington, D. C.: Joseph Henry Press, 1997.)

"Comprising the greatest proportion of species on reefs, these cryptic invertebrates are the ecological equivalents of insects in the rain forest, and they usually are overlooked when the diversity of a coral reef is considered." (Marjorie L. Reaka-Kudla, in Reaka-Kudla et. al. [eds] Biodiversity II. Washington, D. C.: Joseph Henry Press, 1997.)

"If enough species are extinguished, will the ecosystems collapse, and will the extinction of most other species follow soon afterward? The only answer anyone can give is: possibly. By the time we find out, however, it might be too late. One planet, one experiment." (E. O. Wilson, "The Diversity of Life." Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.)

"For all at last return to the sea- to Oceanus, the ocean river, like the ever-flowing stream of time, the beginning and the end." (Rachel Carson, "The Sea Around Us. " Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1950.)

"Coral reefs are probably the oldest living communities in the sea, perhaps older than any extant terrestrial biomes." (Joel Hedgpeth, "Treatise on Marine Ecology and Paleoecology,"1957.)

"The problem is not to manage the reefs but to manage human population and their activities." (Bernard Salvat, The International Coral Reef Initiative: Partnership Building and Framework Development, report of the ICRI Workshop, Dumaguete City, The Philippines, 29 May-2 June 1995.)

"Marine science is irrelevant if you don’t put it to use." (Chris Crossland, 1996.)

"This much is certain: We have the power to damage the sea, but no sure way to heal the harm." (Sylvia Earle, "Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans." New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1996.)

"No other living community has been more important as biological builders since our planet’s birth." (Bernard Salvat, The International Coral Reef Initiative: Partnership Building and Framework Development, report of the ICRI Workshop, Dumaguete City, The Philippines, 29 May-2 June 1995.)

"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." (Baba Dioum, 1968.)

"The bottom was absolutely hidden by a continuous series of corals, sponges, actiniæ [sea anemones] and other marine productions, of magnificent dimensions, varied forms, and brilliant colours. . . .In and out among [the rocks and living corals] moved numbers of blue and red and yellow fishes, spotted and banded and striped in the most striking manner, while great orange or rosy transparent medusæ [jellyfish] floated along near the surface. It was a sight to gaze at for hours, and no description can do justice to its surpassing beauty and interest. For once, the reality exceeded the most glowing accounts I had ever read of the wonders of a coral sea." (Alfred R. Wallace, "The Malay Archipelago." London: Macmillan and Company, 1869)

"We feel surprise when travellers tell us of the vast dimensions of the Pyramids and other great ruins, but how utterly insignificant are the greatest of these, when compared to these mountains of stone accumulated by the agency of various minute and tender animals!" (Charles Darwin, "The Voyage of the Beagle." New York: Mentor, New American Library, 1988, originally published 1839)

"There is something in the psychology of mankind to which coral reefs never fail to appeal." (Stanley J. Gardiner, "Coral Reefs and Atolls." London: Macmillan and Company, 1931.)

"Every one must be struck with astonishment, when he first beholds one of these vast rings of coral-rock, often many leagues in diameter, here and there surmounted by a low verdant island with dazzling white shores, bathed on the outside by the foaming breakers of the ocean, and on the inside surrounding a calm expanse of water, which, from reflection, is of a bright but pale green color." (Charles Darwin, "The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs." Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1984, originally published 1842.)

"It is impossible to behold these waves without feeling a conviction that an island, though built of the hardest rock ... would ultimately yield and be demolished by such an irresistible power. Yet these low, insignificant coral-islets stand and are victorious: for here another power, as an antagonist, takes part in the contest. The organic forces separate the atoms of carbonate of lime, one by one, from the foaming breakers, and unite them into a symmetrical structure. Let the hurricane tear up its thousand huge fragments; yet what will that tell against the accumulated labor of myriads of architects at work night and day, month after month? Thus do we see the soft and gelatinous body of a polypus, through the agency of the vital laws, conquering the great mechanical power of the waves of an ocean..." (Charles Darwin, "The Voyage of the Beagle." New York: Mentor, New American Library, 1988, originally published 1839)

"A coral reef cannot be properly described. It must be seen to be thoroughly appreciated." (Sidney Hickson, 1889, quoted in Whitten, Anthony, et. al. "The Ecology of Sulawesi." Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Gadjah Mada University Press: 1987.)

"The apparent physical stability of reefs belies an underlying natural turmoil of growth, death and destruction of calcareous organisms. Much like a modern city, reefs are constantly being rebuilt and torn down at the same time. Corals are the bricks, broken pieces of plant and animal skeletons the sand, and algal crusts and chemical cements the mortar. Reef growth is determined by the production, accumulation, and cementation of all this calcareous stuff into solid limestone." (Jeremy Jackson, The International Coral Reef Initiative: Partnership Building and Framework Development, report of the ICRI Workshop, Dumaguete City, The Philippines, 29 May-2 June 1995.)

"Orange and speckled and fluted nudibranchs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of Spanish dancers." (John Steinbeck, from Cannery Row, 1945.)

"Through the window of my mask I see a wall of coral, its surface a living kaleidoscope of lilac flecks, splashes of gold, reddish streaks and yellows, all tinged by the familiar transparent blue of the sea." (Jacques Yves Cousteau from Life and Death in a Coral Sea, 1971.)

"The palm tree grows, the coral spreads, but man shall vanish." (Polynesian saying)

"The coral zoophyte may be leveled by transported masses swept over by the waters; yet like the trodden sod, it sprouts again, and continues to grow and flourish as before." (J.D. Dana, 1853)

"Intricately organised and immensely diverse, the living coral reef is the triumphant achievement of coral polyps..." (J.E.N. Veron, 1986) "He who sees things grow from their beginning will have the finest view of them." (Aristotle)

"The only solid piece of scientific truth about which I feel totally confident is that we are profoundly ignorant about nature." (Lewis Thomas from The Medusa and the Snail, 1979.)

"Our understanding of the intimate relationships of microorganisms with tropical marine flora and fauna, particularly those parasites causing disease, remains the world of the very unknown." (Esther Peters, 1988)

"An unprejudiced observer might well be fearful that in the not too distant future our children may be able to learn about the coral reefs only from books and documentary films, for one of nature's most unique habitats will have vanished from the face of the Earth." (Voss, 1973)

"I own I am led to suspect that by much the greatest part of those Substances, which from their Figure have hitherto been reputed Sea Shrubs, Plants, Mosses, etc., are not only the Residence of Animals, but their Fabric likewise; and serve for the Purposes of Subsistence, Defence and Propagation, as much as the Combs and Cells fabricated by Bees, and other Insects, serve for similar Purposes." (Ellis, 1755)

"What and where the link is that unites the animal and vegetable kingdoms of nature no one has yet been able to trace out; but some of these corallines appear to come the nearest to it of anything that has occurred to me in all my researches; but then the calcareous covering, though ever so thin, shows us they cannot be vegetables." (Ellis 1767)

"The Zoophytes are not, like the Lithophytes, the producers of their shells or trunks but the shells of themselves; for the stems are true plants which, being metamorphosized, change into animated flowers (true animalculae) completed by organs of generation and instruments of motion, in order that they may obtain motion which extrinsically they have not got." [Linnaeus (from An Introduction to the Study of Corals, by Sidney Hickson,1936)]

"The commitment must be much deeper - to let no species knowingly die; to take all reasonable action to protect every species and race in perpetuity." (The Diversity of Life, Edward O. Wilson, page 342. W.W. Norton & Company, 1999.)

"The unrivaled splendor and wealth of forms and the delicate tints of the coral structures, the brilliant colours of fishes, clams, sea anemones, worms, crabs, star fishes and the whole rest of the reef animals are so attractive and interesting that it seems impossible to give an adequate description of such a profusion of serene and fascinating beauty ." (Johannes Umbgrove, 1939)

"Coral reefs are the rain forests of the sea."

"Coral reefs are the cities of the sea."

Of Norwegian corals, Andrew Revkin wrote in the New York Times, September 19, 2000:

"For nine miles along a submerged ridge, the corals rise in lumpy hillocks that spread out 100 yards or more, resembling heaped scoops of rainbow sherbet and Neapolitan ice cream. The mounds, some 100 feet tall, sprout delicate treelike gorgonians that sift currents for a plankton meal. Fish, worms and other creatures dart or crawl in every crevice. This description could apply to thousands of coral reefs in shallow, sun-streaked tropical waters from Australia to the Bahamas. But this is the Sula Ridge, 1,000 feet down in frigid darkness on the continental shelf 100 miles off Norway's coast."

"Most agreeable are the memories of events and labours, connected with the cruise:-- of companions in travel, ... of coral islands with their groves, and beautiful life, above and below the waters, ... of lofty precipices, richly draped, even the sternest fronts made to smile and be glad, as delights the gay tropics, and alive with waterfalls, gliding, leaping, or plunging, on their way down from the giddy heights, and, as they go, playing out and in amid the foliage..." [J.D. Dana, Corals and Coral Islands (Preface)]

"Science, while it penetrates deeply the system of things about us, sees every- where in the dim lights of vision, the word mystery. Surely there is no reason why the simplest of organisms should bear the mysteries most strongly." [J.D. Dana, Corals and Coral Islands(Introduction)]

"Passing up the harbor ... the clearness of the water afforded one the most astonishing and beautiful sights I have ever beheld. The bottom was absolutely hidden by a continuous series of corals, sponges, actiniae, and other marine productions of ... brilliant colors. The depth varied ... offering a variety of stations for the growth of these animal forests. In and out among them moved numbers of blue and red and yellow fishes, spotted and banded and striped in the most striking manner... It was a sight to gaze at for hours, and no description can do justice to its surpassing beauty and interest." [Alfred Russell Wallace, The Malay Archipelago (on entering the harbor of Amboyna)]

"And now we must say farewell to these delicate and beautiful coral polyps whose labours protect the shores of continents and islands and raise green-rimmed atolls above the blue waters of the tropic ocean, and, leaving the warm, sunlit waters in which they alone can fluorish, return to that sterner, northern world which knows them not." (C.M. Yonge, A Year of the Great Barrier Reef.)

"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." [Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Issac Newton (1855).]

"Many a guarded secret had the ocean revealed to him, and it was fitting that with only the sea around him, there came to him the mystery of death." (A.G. Mayor, obituary of A. Agassiz, 1910.)


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