coral reef

Remote Sensing Tools to support NEXUS challenges

Smalls islands are especially vulnerable to climate change and land  use changes due to the competing needs for limited resources. To support the NEXUS approach we need evidence based monitoring tools that can provide policy makers, conservation managers, entrepeneurs, scientists and the general public with information on the state, pressures and associated changes in the environment. Satellite imagery can provide synoptic information at appropriate
spatial and temporal resolutions that can support evidence based monitoring. Only at very detailed levels information might be added by using airplanes or drones. Remotely sensed information can help to provide information on e.g. land cover and associated dynamics such as urban sprawl, mapping habitats such as mangroves and coral reefs, surveying terrain conditions such as soil moisture conditions and erosion hazards associated within catchments, sea level rise and changing coastlines, and on many aspects of the vegetation (natural and agriculture), such as plant traits, phenology and plant growth. Remotely sensed information can in general make field surveys and monitoring more effective, and can thoroughly support decision making.

Date
2019
Data type
Research report
Theme
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

Reef photo quadrants of St.Eustatius. Raw photo material of the 2017 survey

Raw photo material of the 2017 reef survey using the GCRMN method.

The 20 survey sites lie within the St. Eustatius National Marine Park, which surrounds the island from the high water mark to a depth of 30 meters.  To maximize comparability across the region, GCRMN data was collected solely from forereef habitats at depths ranging from 8 – 15 meters. Sites included the industrialized harbor area along with sites with perceived lower anthropogenic influence on the north and south ends of the island. For each site 5 transects were surveyed. Photographs were taken along the 5 transect lines set for counting fish, capturing 15 images per transect line. 

Please contact the DCBD administratorfor access to the raw digital photographs.

Date
2017
Data type
Raw data
Theme
Research and monitoring
Tags
Geographic location
St. Eustatius

Hyperspectral coral reef classification

Coral reef map of Bonaire based on 2013 1x1 meter resolution hyperspectral mapping (101 channels) and a 2016 diving campaign to collect in-situ information in 18 transects perpendicular to the coastline across the western coast.

For more information please see Mucher et al., 2017.

An RGB composite of the hyeprspectral data can be found here.

Date
2016
Data type
Maps and Charts
Tags
Geographic location
Bonaire
Author

Coral reef watch (NOAA)

The NOAA Coral Reef Watch program uses satellite data to provide current reef environmental conditions to quickly identify areas at risk for coral bleaching. Bleaching is the process by which corals lose the symbiotic algae that give them their distinctive colors. If a coral is severely bleached, disease and death become likely.

Coral Reef Watch also offers a modeled Outlook that predicts the likelihood of coral bleaching heat stress on a week-by-week basis, up to four months in the future (the typical length of a bleaching season).

Continuous satellite monitoring of sea surface temperature at global scales and modeled predictions of approaching bleaching-level heat stress provide resource managers, scientific researchers, and other coral reef ecosystem stakeholders with tools to understand and better manage the complex interactions leading to coral bleaching. When bleaching conditions occur, these tools can be used to trigger bleaching response plans and support appropriate management decisions and communication with the public.

Date
2018
Data type
Portal
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Aruba
Bonaire
Curacao
Saba
Saba bank
St. Eustatius
St. Maarten

Hurricane reef damage form

Form to inventory reef damage of hurricanes, incl. fields:

  • dive site and dive depth
  • date
  • are corals/sponges covered in sand?
  • are there overturned/toppled corals
  • at which depth did you find the most damage?
  • are there large pieces of wood/debris at this site?
  • etc.
Date
2016
Data type
Monitoring protocol
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

AGRRA - Atlantic & Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment

The Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) Program champions coral reef conservation and empowers those who protect these diverse ecosystems. We are an international collaboration of scientists, managers, and supporters aimed at improving the regional condition of reefs in the Western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. For 20 years, AGRRA has used an innovative regional approach to examine the condition of reef-building corals, algae and fishes and support the conservation of coral reef ecosystems. We curate and distribute data, research and educational materials that support this mission.

The AGRRA program began in 1997 by Dr. Robert N. Ginsburg – the guiding visionary force and mentor behind AGRRA’s efforts for 20 years. Collaborating with numerous colleagues, advisors and students, AGRRA has become a leading advocate for coral reef science and conservation. Dr. Ginsburg has led and supported AGRRA, through his foundation The Ocean Research and Education Foundation (ORE), inspiring new generations of ocean scientists, educators and conservationists.

AGRRA’s initial goals were to provide a standardized assessment of key structural and functional indicators that could be applied to reveal spatial and temporal patterns of regional reef condition. Priority was placed on conducting baseline assessments of remote reefs such as in Cuba, The Bahamas, Panama and Los Roques and on creating educational materials and leading training workshops for in-country partners around the Caribbean.

Since that time, we have collaborated with teams of scientific professionals and partners to fill many gaps, collectively conducted over 2,300 surveys, built one of the largest open-access public databases of coral reef condition, and contributed to numerous peer-reviewed publications and management plans.

A cornerstone of our program has been providing open-access to scientific data collected through our partner network. Over 2,300 surveys and 10,000’s of data scientific metrics of corals, fish, and key invertebrates have been collected throughout reefs in the Caribbean. The AGRRA data portal greatly improves the efficiency, transparency and reliability of data compilation and analysis. AGRRA has become a key source of scientific data used to inform reef policies, legislation, management and conservation.

AGRRA has developed a comprehensive set of visual training tools to help partners learn identification of key reef organisms, their role in reef health, and how to scientifically monitor, track and understand these systems. We strive to promote a learning platform through trainings, exchanges and education materials and to catalyze conservation impact through creative effective communication to wider audiences.

Our goals at AGRRA are to:

  • 1. Conduct scientifically sound, comparable regional surveys of the health of coral reefs using a standardized method
  • 2. Promote a collaborative learning platform through trainings, exchanges and open-access education materials
  • 3. Advance our scientific understanding of coral reefs, analyze data results and provide easy data access with the AGRRA data platform and on-line data entry tools
  • 4. Catalyze conservation impact through partnerships and creative effective communication to wider audiences.
Date
2016
Data type
Portal
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire
Curacao
Saba
Saba bank
St. Eustatius
St. Maarten
Image
AGRRA - Atlantic & Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment

Caribbean coastal marine productivity program: 1993-2003.

The Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) Program is a regional scientific effort to study land-sea interaction processes, to monitor for change, and to provide appropriate scientific information for management of the coastal resources in the wider Caribbean region. The Program focuses on understanding the productivity, structure and functions of the three important coastal ecosystems: mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs, throughout the region. Within the wider Caribbean region there is general agreement that many coastal systems are changing for the worse. The ultimate causes

are explosive population growth and human- induced changes, including intense tourism development. Because the underlying causes of this decline are diverse, there is no agreement on how the ecosystems can be stabilized and restored, or even on what constitutes sustainable development.

The CARICOMP program was therefore conceived as a Caribbean-wide initiative to identify the factors responsible for sustaining mangrove, seagrass and coral reef productivity, to examine the interaction between these ecosystems, and to determine the role of terrestrial and oceanic influence on them. Scientific monitoring of these three ecosystems is performed on a daily, weekly and annual basis throughout the region using the same monitoring protocol, as outlined in the CARICOMP Methods Manual which is available at www.ccdc.org.jm/methods_ manual.html.

The CARICOMP Program was launched in 1985; however the network did not become established until 1990 and became fully functional in 1993.

The CARICOMP Network

The CARICOMP network is comprised of the laboratories, parks and reserves, which are committed to conducting the CARICOMP protocol, the Steering Committee and a central data archiving and management centre at the Caribbean Coastal Data Centre (CCDC), University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Steering Committee

The Steering Committee was established to bring management commitment and responsibility to the development and

implementation of the program. The Committee is recognized as the key "decision making" body for the CARICOMP Program and is responsible for the negotiation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with participating institutions. The MOUs specify the responsibility of each institution to the network, including the nomination of a Site Director and the obligation of the network in terms of equipment and logistical support. The Steering Committee membership is dynamic and currently has 11 elected and 2 ex-officio members: Co-chairs, John Ogden and Eric Jordán-Dahlgren, David Bone, Jaime Garzón- Ferreira, Rahanna Juman, Björn Kjerfve, George Warner, Ernesto Weil, Bill Wiebe, Jeremy Woodley, Jay Zieman and ex-officio members Dulcie Linton and Dean Milliken.

CARICOMP Sites and Institutions

To date the network has established links with 30 institutions in 13 islands and 10 mainland countries. Of the 30 institutions, 18 are actively participating and send data regularly to the Data Centre, 8 are currently inactive and 4 have not yet implemented the protocols. 

Date
2004
Data type
Other resources
Theme
Research and monitoring

Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to exceed 500 parts per million and global temperatures to rise by at least 2°C by 2050 to 2100, values that significantly exceed those of at least the past 420,000 years during which most extant marine organisms evolved. Under conditions expected in the 21st century, global warming and ocean acidification will compromise carbonate accretion, with corals becoming increasingly rare on reef systems. The result will be less diverse reef communities and carbonate reef structures that fail to be maintained. Climate change also exacerbates local stresses from declining water quality and overexploitation of key species, driving reefs increasingly toward the tipping point for functional collapse. This review presents future scenarios for coral reefs that predict increasingly serious consequences for reef-associated fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, and people. As the International Year of the Reef 2008 begins, scaled-up management intervention and decisive action on global emissions are required if the loss of coral-dominated ecosystems is to be avoided. 

Date
2007
Data type
Scientific article
Theme
Research and monitoring
Journal

Evaluation of coral reef management effectiveness using conventional versus resilience-based metrics

With increasing stressors to coral reefs, defining tools that evaluate their dynamics and resilience is important to interpret system trajectories and direct conservation efforts. In this context, surveys must go beyond conven- tional monitoring approaches that focus on abundance and biomass of key groups and quantify metrics that better assess ecological processes and ecosystem trajectories. By measuring a variety of conventional (e.g. proportional cover of broad benthic groups, biomass of herbivorous fish) and complementary resilience-based metrics (e.g. algal turf height, coral recruitment rates, juvenile coral densities, herbivorous fish grazing rates), this study evaluated the ecosystem responses to community-based management in Fiji. The study was conducted across three paired tabu areas (periodically closed to fishing) and adjacent fished sites. Conventional metrics reflected no management effect on benthic or herbivorous fish assemblages. In contrast, the complementary metrics generally indicated positive effects of management, particularly within the benthos. Significant differ- ences were observed for turf height (33% lower), coral recruitment rate (159% higher) and juvenile coral density (42% higher) within areas closed to fishing compared to adjacent open reefs. In addition, turf height was in- versely related to coral recruitment and juvenile coral density, and longer turfs (≥5 mm) were more competitive in interaction with corals. These results emphasise that conventional metrics may overlook benefits of local management to inshore reefs, and that incorporating complementary resilience-based metrics such as turf height into reef survey protocols will strengthen their capacity to predict the plausible future condition of reefs and their responses to disturbances. 

Date
2018
Data type
Scientific article
Theme
Research and monitoring

Coastal Protection services of coral reefs in Bonaire

The coastal protection value (CPV) of coral reefs is one of the ecosystem services that contribute to the economic value of coral reefs. The basic principle of coastal protection by coral reefs is the observation that reefs dissipate wave energy either by wave breaking or friction by reef structures. In this study, the coastal protection value (CPV) is estimated on 30 * 30 m grid cell level, which gives a more spatially explicit estimation of the CPV of coral reefs. The annual coastal protection values of the coral reefs of Bonaire for short-term (i.e. within 10 years) and long-term processes (i.e. beyond 10 years) are estimated at $33,000 and $70,000, respectively. 

Date
2012
Data type
Research report
Theme
Research and monitoring
Report number
R-12/11
Geographic location
Bonaire