SEAKEYS and Management questions

Jim Hendee Jim.Hendee at
Tue Feb 8 12:44:04 EST 2000

Bruce & List,

Thank you, Bruce, for those excellent questions (see bottom, attached).

Part of NOAA's mission is to study the ocean and atmosphere and make
recommendations to the US Government's decision makers, based on that
research.  In that sense, having good long-term data, such as through
SEAKEYS, is of great value in management of the reefs of the Florida Keys.
That is the primary goal of SEAKEYS: to provide good long-term data for
environmental managers and researchers.  The goals of CREWS are to provide
decision support; to model hypotheses of what causes certain biological
events (in this case, bleaching), using the physical data and feedback
from the field; and to provide ground-truthing to satellite-derived data.

Concerning the change of management practices, incidences of bleaching
lead more to indirect management changes than direct (although I would
think that a management option to consider would be reducing any sort of
additional anthropogenic stress that might occur at the bleaching site).  
This I would illustrate by recounting what is happening today.  
Incidences of coral bleaching appear to be on the rise (and not just a
greater capability to report), and it appears to primarily be through
global warming.  Thus, as we develop tools that allow us to better monitor
incidences of bleaching (and other natural phemnomena), we provide
ourselves with a greater capacity to recommend, through our government,
means for reducing those factors that adversely affect the environment. In
fact, your same sort of question was asked of me by others:  "So you can
predict bleaching through your expert system or through Al Strong's
HotSpots satellite technology--so what?  What can you do about it?"  The
answer is nothing at the moment, but we have successfully made the public
aware (as Billy Causey alluded to) and we are (hopefully) bringing about
an eventual reduction in global warming through our recommendations to the
US Congress, and their passing the appropriate laws.  Also, since
bleaching occurs under other sorts of stresses, the research tools we
develop help us to better understand how other influences affect the
reefs.  The more sensors we can get in the water, and the more people we
can get to actually watch the changes, the more we will be able to
understand what is happening (but I'm preaching to the choir here...).

As to your question, "What else might SEAKEYS reveal that changes reef
MANAGEMENT in controlled systems like the parks and reserves in the Keys?"
I would just say, in addtion to above, that the SEAKEYS approach can do
quite a bit of what you might want it to do by adding the sensors
necessary to measure what you're interested in.  Obvious limitations
aside, the more you can measure the physical environment the better your
decision making power will be.  And the more sensors you have, the more
permutations of influencing factors you can consider, especially via the
CREWS approach, which can do a lot of up-front processing of data for you
and thus save you a lot of work. You as the Manger need the facts at your
disposal to make an informed decision, and as I said, timely decisions
these days are essential.  SEAKEYS and CREWS don't rest, thus their value
in timeliness.

As to your last question, "Is this a technology that could be readily
exported to Bonaire, or Saba, or San Andres?"  The answer is Yes, if
"readily" can be translated to the appropriate funding.  In fact, the US
Coral Reef Task Force Monitoring Working Group is considering this right
now for US coral reef areas, and some of us in NOAA have been speaking
with people in Indonesia about the possibility of exporting this
technology to their area.  Also, the Australian Instiute of Marine Science
(AIMS) has a network up much like SEAKEYS (hourly meteorology, sea temp,
PAR), and, as I undersand it, they are looking to upgrade some of their
stations with more oceanographic instrumentation.  And as I mentioned, we
in NOAA have been working with AIMS and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Authority to develop a CREWS system at four reef areas on the Great
Barrier Reef.  This is still very experimental, but we are working with
Ray Berkelmans (of AIMS) and his excellent field work (with B. Willis of
James Cook University, ref. below) to lend greater predictive capability
to CREWS and Al Strong's HotSpots technology.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject.

	Jim Hendee

Berkelmans, R. and Willis, B.L. 1999. Seasonal and local spatial patterns
in the upper thermal limits of corals on the inshore Central Great Barrier
Reef. Coral Reefs 18: 219-228.

On Mon, 7 Feb 2000, Bruce at Island Resources wrote:

> To the list ---
> I think I understand and support SEAKEYS as a powerful research tool, 
> and as a way to begin to understand the dynamics of coral bleaching, 
> for example.
> But not sure I understand how this changes the MANAGEMENT of the reefs.
> Do management practices change when bleaching occurs?
> What else might SEAKEYS reveal that changes reef MANAGEMENT in 
> controlled systems like the parks and reserves in the Keys?
> Is this a technology that could be readily exported to Bonaire, or 
> Saba, or San Andres?
> best wishes
> bruce potter

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