Coral Reef Research Institute Home Page

Coral Health and Monitoring Program coral at coral.AOML.ERL.GOV
Thu Aug 31 15:48:14 EDT 1995

The following is a forwarded message from Jo Taylor of the World  
Conservation Monitoring Centre: 

---------- Forwarded message ---------- 
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 11:48:27 BST 
From: Jo.Taylor at 
Subject: re: Coral Reef Research Institute Home Page 

I attach info about WCMC'c activities in Coral Reef Mapping and our presence  
on the Internet. 
                                                 WORLD CONSERVATION 
 WCMC Project Profile                            MONITORING  CENTRE 

Coral Reef Mapping 

The World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) is currently 
undertaking a major initiative to digitally map the world's coral reefs. This 
work is part of a collaborative venture with the International Center for 
Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in the Philippines which 
will lead to the production of a global coral reef database to be known as 

Why are the data needed? 
Darwin first produced a map of the world's coral reefs in 1842, a slightly 
more detailed map was prepared by Joubin early this century. There have 
been very few systematic global surveys of coral reefs since these 
attempts - the only widely accepted summary statistics on reef coverage 
were published by Smith in 1978, while a more detailed descriptive 
account was provided in 1988 by the World Conservation Monitoring 
Centre in the highly-acclaimed three volume series "Coral Reefs of the 
World". There is a wide and growing need for recent, accurate 
information describing coral reefs at higher resolutions than are currently 
available. Such data, at the international level, are required by aid 
agencies, conservation organisations and industry as well as individual 
scientists and the public for uses that include planning operations and 
investment, monitoring changes, predicting fisheries statistics, planning 
shipping routes, scientific research, conservation and education. 

How can individual countries benefit? 
The coastal zone is an area of considerable interest to a wide range of 
users and detailed resource maps are increasingly important for planning 
and management. Maps are used by government planners, fisheries 
organisations, conservationists, scientists, protected areas agencies, and 
private organisations. While many countries have already begun detailed 
mapping programmes, others have not yet begun, or do not have the 
resources available to undertake this work. 

For those countries with little or no information at the national scale 
relating to marine resources this project will provide maps, which could 
be incorporated into national databases. The working scale of most maps 
will be 1:250,000, with more detailed scales (1:50,000 or 1:100,000) for 
specific sites and small nations. Due to the constraints of time and money 
it will not be possible to undertake highly detailed work, nor will it be 
possible to undertake any direct interpretation of remotely sensed data. 
Where digital datasets do not exist WCMC is actively seeking to obtain 
the best available maps in hard copy which it will then digitise. These 
maps, and there may be several for each country, could range in both 
quality and scale (with 1:250,000 being set as the ideal). The final 
digitised product would be made freely available to all contributors. 

For countries with existing coastal resource maps at the national level, 
either on hard copy or in digital format. Such data will prove very valuable 
for the ReefBase initiative. Non-digitised maps will be digitised and made 
available to the suppliers of the data. Digital maps will be incorporated 
directly where these are available. High resolution maps will be 
summarised as necessary. All the data will be fully acknowledged and 

Reef Maps - features to be incorporated 
The prime focus of this work will be to map coral reef distribution: 
coastlines, emergent reef crest or reef polygons and simple bathymetric 
data for coral reef areas. A separate project is currently underway to map 
the global distribution of mangrove forests which, although of lower 
resolution, will be a very useful complimentary dataset. Where possible 
it is hoped to incorporate other features relating to biodiversity and 
coastal sensitivity, as funding and time permits. The following is a list of 
features for which data will be incorporated subject to these provisos: 

Physical features: 
Coastline, differentiated if available, into mud, sand/gravel, rock, cliffs 
etc.; Emergent reef crest; Reef areas as polygons where available; 
Bathymetric data - 20, 50 and/or 100m wherever available; Simple wind, 
tide and current data 

Further substrate/habitat data: 
Mangrove; Seagrass; Mud, sand, rock, coral dominated habitat 

Species data: 
Turtle feeding and nesting sites; Reef fish distribution; Seabird colonies; 
Manatee and dugong distribution data 

Human aspects: 
Protected areas; Fisheries data; Shipping channels; Research stations; 
Dive sites; Towns and cities; Tourist and fishing centres; Other planning 
regimes (shipping, fishing, controls) 

For all countries and contributors. ReefBase, a global database describing 
the coral reefs and reef systems of the world will be prepared on CD-ROM 
and freely distributed to all contributors. The data on ReefBase will include 
a simple geographic information system (GIS) and bit-maps for every 
country along with summary statistics describing reef areas, protected 
areas and other management regimes, fisheries, economics, taxonomic 
information and much more. 

In addition to receiving data at the global level, participants will be  
through ReefBase into a loose network of collaborating individuals, 
institutions and organisations. 

Funding and progress to date 
The World Conservation Monitoring Centre has highlighted coral reefs as 
key habitats of conservation importance and concern, and this initiative 
ties in closely with previous work at the Centre in the preparation of the 
"Coral Reefs of the World" volumes. Partial funding has come from the 
European Community, through the linkage to ReefBase. Further funding 
has been drawn from other projects at WCMC, including work on small 
island developing states for the United Nations Environment Programme, 
and current support from the International Petroleum Industry 
Environmental Conservation Association. Thus, although there is no single 
funding base, work is progressing steadily. By early 1995 detailed reef 
maps had been prepared or incorporated for over 25 countries.  

For further information on Coral Reef Mapping, please contact: 
Richard Luxmoore, Head of WCMC's Habitats Programme; 
Richard.Luxmoore at 

For further information, please contact: 
The Information Officer 
World Conservation Monitoring Centre            Tel: +44 (0)1223 277314 
219 Huntingdon Road                             Fax: +44 (0)1223 277136 
Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom              e-mail: info at 

WCMC Conservation Information Service is sponsored by the BT 
Community Programme 

coral.prj mar95gy 

                                                        WORLD CONSERVATION 
 WCMC Information Services                              MONITORING  CENTRE 

Internet Services 

WCMC is expanding its information services by using international 
communications networks - especially the Internet, which is the most 
widely used network for science. The Internet allows WCMC to access 
and be accessed electronically by other users of the network. 

Recent estimates indicate millions of users are linked via the Internet. 
To assist these users, a number of programs and services are available 
through the Internet to enable organisations to manage their own 
information and to retrieve information from other users. The most 
commonly used features include Email, World Wide Web, Gopher, List 
Servers, Anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and Wide Area 
Information Servers (WAIS). WCMC is utilising these facilities to provide 
information and meta-database services via the Internet. (Meta-databases 
are databases of databases, i.e. they tell users where information can be 
obtained).   Five services are in operation: 

   -   World Wide Web (WWW) - for users of the WWW, WCMC 
       has released its own WWW home page providing access to 
       conservation data and information, including text, tables, 
       maps and images. This can be accessed through the following 
       universal resource locator   (URL) 

   -   Anonymous FTP - this allows users of the Internet to copy 
       files to and from a dedicated disk area at WCMC on which a 
       variety of information is available already.  The address of this 
       disk is: 

   -   List Server - an electronic discussion forum for CITES-related 
       issues using email.  

   -   WCMC hosts a node for the Microbial Strain Data Network 

   -   Biodiversity Information Network - WCMC is one of five 
       WWW nodes for the BIN21 network, that disseminates 
       information relating to Agenda 21 and informs the global 
       biodiversity community of regional contacts and current 

WCMC is a primary test site for a meta-database system serving a range 
of environmental disciplines. This will allow network users to browse 
through descriptions and view examples of WCMC's data-sets. The meta- 
database uses the Consortium for International Earth Science Information 
Network (CIESIN) Catalog System and lists WCMC data, including an 
inventory of products and services. It is both X and character-based and 
belongs to the NASA Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) family of 
connected meta-databases.  

Following a review of existing systems, WCMC has embarked on two 
projects to develop its own meta-database systems. The first project 
provided an Internal Meta-database System (IMS) that is used for the 
internal search and retrieval of information. The second project is 
developing a Metadata Entry Tool (MET) allowing external users to fill in 
meta-data records describing WCMC data-sets. This has been developed 
to export to one of three formats, CIESIN Directory Interchange Format 
(DIF), NASA GCMD DIF, and UNEP GRID. WCMC is beta-testing this 
system for operational use by October 1994. 

WCMC's long term objectives are to make information and data available 
to users through an open and transparent on-line information service. The 
services offered will be periodically expanded in response to feedback 
from users and to include further information that becomes available. 

For information on the above please contact: 
   Ian Barnes, Data and Communications Coordinator 
   e-mail: ian.barnes at 

For further information on other WCMC projects, please contact: 
The Information Officer 
World Conservation Monitoring Centre      Tel: +44 (0)1223 277314 
219 Huntingdon Road                       Fax: +44 (0)1223 277136 
Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom        e-mail: info at 

WCMC Conservation Information Service is sponsored by the BT 
Community Programme 

internet.inf oct94y 

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