[Coral-List] Peer Reviewers Needed

Risa Minato risaminato at hawaii.rr.com
Fri Jan 23 14:47:22 EST 2004


The Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative Research Program (HCRI-RP) is looking for a few good peer reviewers to read and comment on upcoming proposals. Your expert knowledge will help us to select the best projects to sponsor. Reviewers will receive the proposals on March 1, 2004 and would have until March 25, 2004 to complete the review (roughly 1 month).  


HCRI-RP sponsors research and monitoring of the state's coastal reef ecosystems to understand the impacts of human activity on reef ecosystem. Results are used to provide resource managers with information to help them effectively and efficiently prevent, and possibly reverse, resource damage and degradation.  At the core of HCRI-RP lies a competitive grant process to sponsor research and monitoring projects.  If you would like to find out more about our program and past projects, please refer to our website (www.hawaii.edu/ssri/hcri).  


We recognize that to do justice to the proposals submitted requires a large amount of time on your part.  If you are able to review 4-5 proposals, I would like to offer you a very small remuneration for your time (US$100) or a book of your choice (not to exceed $100).  It by no means covers the cost of your extremely valuable and overbooked schedule, but it does represent how much we appreciate you sharing some of it with us.


If you just cannot review 4-5 proposals, but would like to help us, it would be wonderful if you could even review 1-2.  


If you are interested, please contact Risa Minato at risaminato at hawaii.rr.com by February 12th, 2004.  Also indicate in your email which priorities (listed below) you feel best meets your area of expertise.  



HCRI-RP Research Priorities for FY2004-2005


1.  Non-Economic Value of main Hawaiian Islands' Coastal Reefs

HCRI-RP has sponsored economic valuation studies of reef ecosystems in the main Hawaiian Islands.  These studies estimate that the annual gross revenues of these reefs are about $800 million, resulting in $340 million in added value.  


Coastal reef ecosystems also have educational, cultural, social, and environmental value.  Methods need to be developed to assess the value of these non-economic "environmental services" and incorporate them into decisions about the protection of these important resources.



2.  Stressors of Coastal Reefs surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands

As already discussed, Hawaii's reefs are seriously threatened by fishing pressure, alien species, disease, and localized pollution.  Intensive coastal development and ocean recreation also can negatively impact Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems.  More research is needed to understand the impacts of specific threats on the dynamic relationships among coral, algae, fish, and other reef organisms.


2a.  Invasive Marine Species:  The Management Committee is interested in proposals for projects that seek to understand the effects of invasive marine plants and animals on native species and reef ecosystems and make recommendations for management action.  The Management Committee is also interested in research to assess methods to control or eradicate algal blooms and research aimed at determining the physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms that cause such blooms.  The Management Committee is seeking proposals to develop methods for preventing the introduction and spread of new invasive marine species.  Overall, HCRI-RP would like for selected projects to recommend management activities to avoid or minimize impacts.


2b. Fishing Pressure:  The relative contributions of fishing pressure and habitat degradation on the marked declines in Hawaii's coastal fish populations have not been determined.  The Management Committee is seeking proposals for projects to evaluate and improve fisheries management measures so that fishing will not further degrade our marine ecosystem.  Overall, HCRI-RP would like for selected projects to recommend management activities to avoid or minimize impacts.


2c. Pollution:  The Management Committee is requesting proposals that examine how pollution (e.g., nutrients, debris, point source, sediment) affects Hawaii's nearshore reefs and to make practical management recommendations for preventing marine pollution that negatively impacts coral reef ecosystems.  Overall, HCRI-RP would like for selected projects to recommend management activities to avoid or minimize impacts.


2d. Disease:  To date coral disease has not caused significant damage to Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems,  However, there is a need to assess and monitor the emerging threats of disease to corals and other coral reef organisms in Hawaii.  What diseases currently infect the state's reef ecosystem?  What can resource managers do to avoid or minimize impacts?


2e. Coastal Development:  Human action can upset the balance of life on coastal reefs and amplify changes to natural cycles, resulting in the degradation of the coastal reef ecosystem.  Coastal development is often cited as critical threat to the health and well-being of Hawaii's reefs.  Proposals are being sought that identify, through sound scientific methods, specific ecological functions and values provided by Hawaii's nearshore coral reef ecosystems.  Likewise, managers are seeking practical strategies to minimize or compensate for lost ecological services (e.g., functions and values) as a result of coastal development activities (e.g., dredging and filling).  


2f. Nearshore Recreation:  Hawaii's nearshore reefs support a wide range of recreational activities, including:  fishing, kayaking, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Often, recreational users compete for use of nearshore areas and embayments.  Without careful management, use of the reef environment by recreational users can severely degrade the very resource they enjoy.  Anchor damage, groundings, and trampling are just a few examples of the harm caused by human recreational activities.  The Management Committee is seeking proposals for projects to evaluate the impact and value of nearshore recreation; and recommend ways to improve marine recreation management so that these activities will not degrade Hawaii's marine ecosystems.



3. Status of Coastal Reefs surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands

Resource assessments and monitoring are crucial to understanding the health of coral reef ecosystems.  HCRI-RP is soliciting proposals for question-driven monitoring and assessment of Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems.  Research questions should (1) investigate anthropogenic impacts on coral reef ecosystems; (2) identify what changes to these ecosystems are due to natural variability; and (3) develop and test methods for detecting natural and anthropogenic changes in the status of coral reef ecosystems.  

Any sites proposed for monitoring under this program should be selected based on a strategy to distinguish the effects of natural variability versus anthropogenic impacts.  Impacts induced by global climate change are not a priority unless they can be related directly to local management decisions.



4. "Gaming"  the main Hawaiian Islands' Coastal Reefs 

Over the past few years, a number of digital maps have been developed of nearshore coastal reefs around the main Hawaiian Islands.  The HCRI-RP Management Committee is very interested in proposals that begin to develop an interactive computer game to model the dynamics of the ecosystem itself in such a way that is accessible to the general public.  Specifically, HCRI-RP would like the computer "game" to allow the user to input different variables and see their resulting impact on the ecology.  


This game would provide the opportunity to analyze biodiversity of ecosystems and would use multiple trophic levels, beginning with phytoplankton.  It would begin to flush out system dynamics and illustrate in a dynamic fashion cumulative and secondary impacts.  In particular, the Management Committee would like the user-friendly model to virtually illustrate a healthy reef, as well as how various factors create an unhealthy one and can lead to community shifts.  



5. Population Dynamics of Coastal Reefs surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands

In order to design ecologically effective marine protected areas, basic information on coral reef keystone species is critical.   At present, the basic knowledge of reef organisms' population structure is inadequate to design a management regime to improve the sustainability of important organisms, including fish, corals, and algae in ecosystems across the main Hawaiian Islands.  In particular, scientists and managers do not know where reproduction and recruitment takes place for most of Hawaii's keystone organisms.  In addition, the basic biology of many species of Hawaiian algae is not known.   


Therefore, HCRI-RP is soliciting proposals for projects that will build on results of previous years' activities and the investigations of others.  Potential projects should examine the following questions:  What are important coral reef keystone organisms around the main Hawaiian Islands and how do they contribute to the health of coral reef ecosystems?  Are the populations of these organisms genetically distinct or a single population?  What links exist between the life histories, reproductive patterns and genetic structures for these population(s)?  Projects proposed under this priority should propose recommendations for development of marine protected areas to insure the sustainability of keystone coral reef ecosystem organisms.  


The Management Committee is also very interested in proposals for projects to examine the relationship of traditional Hawaii's knowledge about coastal reefs and population dynamics and management.  In other words, how Hawaiian traditional ecological knowledge can be applied to (and inform) modern management and be supported by scientific investigation.



Risa Minato
Program Assistant
Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative Research Program
Social Science Research Institute
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall #718
Honolulu, HI 96822
Ph:  (808) 956-7479
Fax: (808) 956-2884
E-mail: hcri_rp at hawaii.edu

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