Are we Measuring the Correct Parameters in Coral Reef Monitoring? Lessons from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network South West Pacific Node
- Kenneth T MacKay, Institute of Marine Resources and CRISP LISP Project, University of the South Pacfic, Fiji
- Priti Singh, Institute of Marine Resources and CRISP LISP Project, University of the South Pacfic, Fiji
- Helen Sykes, Resort Support
There is substantial time and effort spent monitoring and collected data on coral reefs world wide. The South West Pacific node of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) comprises seven countries (Fiji, Nauru, New Caledonia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu).
Routine monitoring is carried out on the health and state of the coral reefs using snorkel or SCUBA-diving equipment. The monitoring is carried out by people with a wide range of skills and knowledge, ranging from local coastal fishers, dive and tourism staff, aquarium fishers, aquarium companies, staff from Government departments such as Fisheries and Environment, NGOs, and professional coral reef scientists.
The methods vary from basic Reefcheck methods, using simple coral cover indices and some indicator species, to more scientifically elaborate approaches. The data varies from time series at the same sites to single data collection points.
This data is then analysed and used to describe the current state of the reef and answer various questions such as response to damage and climate change events, effectiveness of protected areas, and suitability of the reef for exploitation for food and aquarium fish and corals./
This paper will use data collected by the SW Pacific GCRMN node to assess the usefulness of the data to answer questions on the health and state of the coral reefs.
We will also make recommendations for improving monitoring and data collection to better address the relevant questions.
Keywords: Coral reef monitoring, GCRMN, South West Pacific