On-Site Monitoring Tools for Coral Bleaching Events
Scientists and researchers around the world are actively responding to coral bleaching events through various initiatives and strategies aimed at understanding, mitigating, and adapting to the impacts of bleaching. Some of the key ways in which organizations are monitoring or tracking coral bleaching events using various on-site methods include:
- NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW): resource managers, scientists, in-water monitoring networks, and the public all over the world report coral bleaching data using various methods directly to NOAA CRW.
- Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) is a global operational network of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) made up bya network of scientists, managers and organisations that monitor the status and trends of coral reef ecosystemsc 10 regional nodes.
- Wildlife Conservation Society and database portal MERMAID. Rapid bleaching protocol using visual quadrats at various locations in the world such as Western Caribbean, Melanesia, and the Southeast Asian Archipelago.
- Reef Check (citizen scientists are trained to track reef health and bleaching using belt transects). Some active networks include the Coral Bleaching Network in Indonesia and ReefCheck Malaysia.
- ReefCloud (uses photos and artificial intelligence to track reef health) in various locations in the world such as Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Indonesia among other locations).
- Coral Watch (citizen science program which uses color cards).
- National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) monitors coral health using belt transects in U.S. States and Territories (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands).
- Atlantic Gulf and Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) standarized coral reef monitoring protocol, which includes bleach watch portal (multiple methods such as Bardrop, belt, and point transects).
- Florida Keys Mote Marine Laboratory BleachWatch, Citizen Science, simple way to report bleaching and disease in Florida (presence/absence).
- Florida Reef Resilience Program, Disturbance Response Monitoring (DRM)
- Florida Dept. Environmental Protection CRCP BleachWatch, Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN) BleachWatch. Citizen Science is a simple way to report bleaching and disease in Florida (presence/absence).
- Healthy Reefs Initiative and 70+ partner surveyors use the ECOMAR Belize Coral Watch Program (Bardrop) and input results into AGRRA.
- Koa A Corps, Citizen Science, simple way to report bleaching in Hawaiian Islands (presence/absence).
- Eyes on the Reef, Citizen Science, an early warning system for coral bleaching, coral disease, Crown-of-Thorns Sea Stars (COTS) and marine invasive species in Hawai‘i
- Site d’Observation-SO CORAIL (National Observation Service), Center for Insular Research and Environmental Observatory (CRIOBE) Long-Term Monitoring Program for the Coral Reefs of the South Pacific with photoquadrat and transect surveys including the Polynesia Mana Network which includes 5 insular states of the South Pacific and 10 islands of French Polynesia. Led by Institut national des Sciences de l’Univers– Centre national de la recherche scientifique and many more organizations.
- Pala Dalik, Citizen Science (presence/absence) and transects conducted by Réseau d’Observation des Récifs Coralliens/ Participatory Coral Reef Monitoring Network.
Australia–Great Barrier Reef
- Australian Institute of Marine Science, AIMS monitors the Great Barrier Reef through two major programs – the Long-Term Monitoring Program (LTMP)-which uses manta tows and fixed photo transects. Permanent photo transects are also used in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Monitoring Program for inshore coral reefs (MMP).
- Great Barrier Reef Authority (GBRMPA), Eye on the Reef, Citizen Science, simple way to report bleaching and disease in GBR (presence/absence). The GBRMPA also conducts aerial surveys to monitor coral bleaching.
- Philippines Coral Bleaching Watch, Citizen Science, an early warning system for coral bleaching (presence/absence), Crown-of-Thorns Sea Stars (COTS) outbreaks in the Philippines.
- Coral Bleaching Network in Indonesia (Network of organizations and citizen scientists are trained to track reef health and bleaching using belt transects).
- ReefCheck Malaysia (Network of organizations and citizen scientists are trained to track reef health and bleaching using belt transects).
- CORDIO East Africa leads the Indian Ocean Coral Bleaching network, which provides reports on the status of alerts, a form to report bleaching (via presence/absence, transects) and a dashboard to visualize observations.
- Maldives Marine Research Institute, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, lead the Coral Database, which includes monitoring via photo quadrats (random or, transects) and reporting of coral health and bleaching severity in the Maldives.
The best method will depend on what you can measure, how you measure it, the longevity of the program, and the financial/human resources available!
If you monitor coral bleaching and would like to be included in this list please contact us: email@example.com
- Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) Resources
- Methods for Ecological Monitoring of Coral Reefs by Jos Hill and Clive Wilkinson (ReefBase, Reef Check, GCRMN)
- Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)- Survey Manual for Tropical Marine Resources
- Global Protocol for Assessment and Monitoring of Coral Bleaching by Oliver et al 2004
- A Reef Manager’s Guide to Coral Bleaching, by Paul Marshall and Heidi Schuttenberg, 2006
Coral Identification Support
- Corals of the World
- CORDIO East Africa, Western Indian Ocean
- NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office’s, Coral Species Identification Training Program