Identification of threats and resiliency on Pacific Reefs through establishment of a long term reef monitoring network in Fiji

Identification of threats and resiliency on Pacific Reefs through establishment of a long term reef monitoring network in Fiji: The Fiji Coral Reef Monitoring Network (FCRMN)

  • Helen Sykes, Marine Ecology Consulting (Fiji)
  • Edward Lovell, University of the South Pacific, Fiji

The Fiji Coral. Reef Monitoring Network (FCRMN), a node of the Global Coral. Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) includes scientists, tourism operators, and community members.

Long term monitoring of reefs across the Fiji Islands for nine years included mass temperature-related coral bleaching events, cyclones, and Crown of Thorns outbreaks.

Survey protocols used variants of Point-Intercept Transects for coral cover, and Belt Transects for indicator fish and invertebrate populations

Percentage hard coral cover was used for regional and time-Line comparisons

More detailed protocols allowed comparisons by coral life-form category.

Data was compiled through the Coral Reef Initiative for the South Pacific (CRISP).

Coral cover fell dramatically in 2000 – 2002 after two mass bleaching events, plus regional Crown of Thorns outbreaks, but recovered to pre-bleaching levels by 2005.

Cyclones affected localised coral health in shallow waters, but caused no large scale or perma Dent d a mage, and in some cases served coral recovery by lowering water temperatures and clearing new substrate for settlement.

Overall, Fiji’s reefs appear to be remarkably resilient to sudden catastrophic event, a cause for optimism.

Major -chronic- continual impacts on coral reef health in Fiji:

  • Eutrophication
  • Siltation (deforestation coastal development)
  • Over fishing Occasional or sporadic acute’ impacts on coral health:
  • Temperature-related bleaching
  • Predation and disease

Cyclones Features contributing to coral resilience:

  • Geographically remote from major industrialised land masses
  • Large physical reef diversity
  • Connectivity of habitats and genetic stocks
  • Few overtly destructive fishing practices
  • Network of locally managed marine protected. areas

Number of words in abstract: 251

Keywords: Monitoring network – Coral bleaching – Reef resiliency Technical area: Ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainable development

Special session: Not specified

Presentation: Oral preferred, but poster accepted

Special equipment: No special equipment

Identification of threats and resiliency on Pacific Reefs through establishment of a long term reef monitoring network in Fiji
Identification of threats and resiliency on Pacific Reefs through establishment of a long term reef monitoring network in Fiji

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11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress

hops://intellagence.eu.com/bin/submit4

PSI2009/583

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