Pier pilings to seamounts: Studies of
animals in Australia
Alan Butler, Ph.D.
CSIRO Marine Research
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Friday, August 20, 1999
12:00 NoonPacific Forum
There are two parts to this talk:
First, Ill offer a few remarks about my present institution, CSIRO Marine
Research. Amongst other things, some of my colleagues work on seamounts, which have
wonderful sessile fauna.
Second, Ill present some thoughts about the relationship between science and
management. I characterize science as "doubt-management," and Ill
illustrate how this works by looking at examples from studies of sessile animal
assemblages like those that grow on pier pilings, rocky reefs, or deep-water seamounts.
Science reduces doubt, but some doubt always remains, and the profession of scientists
is to focus on whats left (and to reduce it further). In the process, science uses
ideas as long as they help in reducing doubt, but then discards or modifies them.
Legislation, meanwhile, casts scientific ideas in resin, sometimes slightly distorted. And
administrators tend to treat scientists as "experts" (people who know things)
rather than as doubt-managers (people who focus on what we still dont know).
Ill argue that the misunderstanding is serious, but that there are ways of
overcoming itthere are, in other words, ways of making environmental management into
a fundamentally scientific process.
Next: Effects of
Sargassum muticum on native marine communities
Last updated: December 19, 2000