Since the age of seven, when my father threw me overboard, I have been observing coral reefs through a dive mask. I have marveled at the beauty, biological diversity, and productivity of coral reefs and have seen how important they are to the local people who depend on them for food, income, recreation, and spiritual enrichment. I have also seen how human activity has undermined the health and vitality of reefs. The coral reefs I observed in the 1940s are totally different today. Sadly, none has changed for the better.
When I think of coral reef ecology, the concepts of connection and interdependence come to mind. Corals have their symbiotic algal partners, while