Health of Coral Reefs Lecture

Is it Boom or Bust on our Coral Reefs? Climate Change, Disease and Recovery is the topic of the Buttonwood Park Zoo’s January Wildlife Education Series. The lecture will take place on Thursday, January 11 beginning at 6:00 pm. Is it Boom or Bust on our Coral Reefs? Climate Change, Disease and Recovery features Dr. John Crosby of Tabor Academy’s Marine Science Department.

Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth, and Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) has been the dominant reef-building hard coral species throughout the Caribbean for over 10,000 years. But since the mid-70s, there has been an 80 – 98% mortality of Elkhorn throughout the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. Dr. Crosby will discuss how scientists are working to understand the nature of the disease that has decimated Acropora coral species in this hemisphere these past forty years. Research is helping to uncover the range and distribution of factors that cause disease, as well as the conditions that are required for recovery. Crosby will discuss recent efforts being made to farm corals and “outcrop” them into affected areas, thereby restoring populations that might otherwise never recover.

John Crosby is a science teacher at Tabor Academy in Marion. He is also the Principle Investigator of a collaborative research effort with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey designed to study the decline and recovery of Acropora coral species on the reefs surrounding the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Crosby earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maine. He went on to become a Principle Research Scientist at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. There he participated in physician-scientist training programs and directed research in hematological oncology. He’s been engaging Tabor students and faculty in reef research in the Virgin Islands for the last 15 years. Crosby lives with his family in Marion, MA and enjoys diving, four-wheeling, wood-turning and paying two college tuitions.

Tickets are $8 for Members, $10 for Non-Members, and $5 for Students. They are available at

The Wildlife Education Series, in its second season, offers dynamic talks on all things wild. This year’s line-up includes discussions on a wide range of topics from coral reefs in crisis, to why conservation matters, animal migration patterns and more.

Leave A Comment...