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reefchck at reefchck at
Mon Jun 22 01:54:06 EDT 1998

Dear all coral-listers,

	Here is the June Update for Reef Check 98.

Reef Check Update - June 22, 1998

We have lots of good news about Reef Check 1998, the second annual global survey of 
coral reefs. If you are not familiar with Reef Check or participated last year and would 
like to help out again, please see our website:
The global results for 1997 were stunning, and the value of the data will increase with 
each year added.

1. Funding for National Coordinators

We are very grateful to the Rockefeller Brother's Fund for providing significant funding 
for Reef Check 1998 in East Asia. In addition we have pledges of support from 
UNESCO, UNEP and private foundations for modest support for other regions in 1998-9. 
If you are a marine scientist or NGO staffer living or working in a developing country 
where we do not have a national coordinator and you would like to form a Reef Check 
team, we may be able to provide start-up funds and scientific training. Please read the 
website to check our list of coordinators and then email us for instructions at 
<reefchck at>

2. New Countries Added

Our 1998 roster continues to expand with new countries and territories such as the US 
Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Bangladesh among those 
recently signing on. We need more volunteers from the Caribbean and Africa.

3. GCRMN / Reef Check / Reef Base Summit at the Hawaii Monitoring Workshop

The US state of Hawaii has finally decided to set up a coral reef monitoring and 
management program. As a first step, Jim Maragos coordinated an impressive coral reef 
monitoring workshop at the East-West Center in Honolulu 9-11 June. There was ample 
opportunity for participants to review and evaluate many alternative monitoring methods 
including Reef Check. Of the many discussions that appeared to achieve resolution, two 
are relevant here: A) In addition to academic scientific research, two types of monitoring 
are needed - high intensity, detailed taxonomic monitoring at selected sites by 
government agencies, and lower intensity, "community-based" monitoring at many sites 
using teams of skin divers, recreational scuba divers and scientists. B) Community-based 
monitoring, as part of a coastal management plan provides a solution to coral reef 
problems by building up a sense of stewardship in the community. C) It was agreed that 
Reef Check methods were suitable for volunteers to use in Hawaii.

During the workshop, meetings were held to solidify the already strong relationships 
among Reef Check, GCRMN and Reef Base. In short, the previous agreement that 
GCRMN would promote Reef Check as the GCRMN community-based monitoring 
method in all countries was reaffirmed. In addition, in countries where there is already a 
sufficient capacity to plan and carry out government level monitoring, Reef Check has 
agreed to promote a  second,  more intensive set of methods recommended for use by 
government and academic teams, based in part on the English et al. Survey Manual for 
Tropical Marine Resources, but also including other methods as needed. For both 
protocols, a core set would be recommended for use in all countries with each country 
and locale adding whatever additional methods were needed. Finally, the decision to 
supply all Reef Check data to Reef Base was reaffirmed.

The clear message from Hawaii is that scientists and managers alike are in no mood for 
silly arguments about methods. Collaboration, compromise and getting people into the 
water now are the order of the day.

4. Reef Check Hawaii and Clean Oceans 98

Some of you will recall that in 1997, Reef Check was kicked off in spectacular fashion on 
the island of Kauai by the environmental group Save Our Seas. This year, from June 11 
to 13, Carl Stepath and his wife Teresa put on another Save Our Seas/Reef Check 
extravaganza, this time on Maui. On the night of 12 June, the Clean Oceans 98 
underwater film festival was attended by hundreds, including renowned Maui marine 
artist Christian Lassen who has brought humpbacked whales and coral reefs into many 
living rooms around the world. Saturday morning, Carl organized a dawn patrol Reef 
Check field training at Kapalua Bay and over 25 team leaders and divers attended. Thank 
you Carl (and Frannie of Maui Community College) for motivating such a good group to 
take part. At last word, Carl and daughter Sonrisa were planning a full-scale Reef Check 
attack on at least six of the lower Hawaiian Islands. Alan Fong, Jeff Kuwabara and John 
Cullinane of Hanauma Bay Marine Park volunteered to get Reef Check started on Oahu.

Jim Maragos helped with a much needed review and revision of the Reef Check indicator 
organisms appropriate for Hawaii. 

5.  Global Warming 9, Hong Kong

Despite a massive downpour that turned HK's streets into rivers, a Reef Check 
presentation and poster on 9 June at the GW9 Conference at HKUST were well attended. 
As many will remember, last January, Bob Buddemeier et al. concluded that the biggest 
threat to coral reefs from global change is a rise in atmospheric CO2 that will, through a 
complex series of reactions, lead to reduced calcification by reef corals. Taking these 
conclusions to heart, the question was asked as to how we would detect a global change 
in coral reefs if there is no global network of monitoring? The presentations suggested 
that the Reef Check network provides a platform to monitor such changes, and the 
addition of special methods to detect such changes could be accommodated as required.

6. Meeting reminders: 

All team scientists are invited to make regional, national or local scale presentations of 
Reef Check results at the ISRS meeting in Perpignan, France this September 1998 and to 
participate in the ITMEMS Workshop in Townsville, Australia - November 1998. If 
there is sufficient demand, a free Reef Check training session will be held at both venues. 

7. New Assistant Coordinator in Hong Kong

Suzie Geermans, our energetic and multi-talented assistant has decided to return to her
 native Australia for personal reasons. We wish her and partner John good luck. The new 
Assistant Coordinator is Keith Kei, a diving instructor with a Master's degree in marine 
biology. The Reef Check email address remains unchanged at <reefchck at>.

8. 1998 Methods and Deadline Reminder

1998 data sets are already flowing into headquarters. We remind all 1997 teams to 
download the revised 1998 methods and spreadsheets. All teams need to register to 
participate. Please send us the data ASAP once the survey is finished to avoid QA/QC 
problems. Remember that the deadline for fieldwork is 30 September, 1998. 

Please send us brief reports now of your planned and completed Reef Check activities 
(training, surveys, press reports etc) for inclusion in our next update in July. 


Keith Kei
Assistant Coordinator 
Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development
Applied Technology Centre
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clearwater Bay Kowloon  HONG KONG
Tel:	(852) 2358-6936
Fax:	(852) 2358-1334
e-mail:	reefchck at
web site:

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