[Coral-List] Surveys for tsunami damage

John Naughton john.naughton at noaa.gov
Fri Jan 7 14:41:21 EST 2005


Any surveys conducted to assess tsunami damage to coral reefs should be
extensive and initially cover a large area, such as via tow board surveys.  Here
in Hawaii we did some survey work after Hurricane Iniki several years ago.  We
found areas of extensive reef damage down to 70 feet or more which looked as if
a bulldozer had gone down slope.  However, often within 20 or 30 meters
laterally, facing the same direction, the reef was untouched.  I suspect this
may be the case with tsunami impacts as well.   Spot checking the reefs could
give a false sense of the extent of damage.

Aloha,            John

David Obura wrote:

> Dear listers,
> As many of you are, CORDIO and the people we are working with in the
> affected areas are trying to rapidly put together a list of survey
> techniques that can be used to help identify the impacts of the tsunami to
> coral reefs. It would make sense for a wider discussion to happen on this,
> so that datasets and reports that come out in the next months and years are
> more or less comparable, and that also we minimize the chance of leaving out
> an indicator that may prove important in a few years time. We are looking at
> surveys that:
> * are compatible with long term monitoring datasets, sites and sampling
> plans
> * combine initial rapid assessment observations (in the next few weeks and
> perhaps months) with more detailed methods to be done at selected permanent
> (old and new) sites
> * indicators of tsunami damage ­ the main damage agents we identified so far
> seem to be: from the initial waves: physical damage from the waves breaking
> (shallow to mid depth?) damage from surge (going deeper); and from the
> backwash: sedimentation, physical damage from debris,
> eutrophication/smothering/disease from terrestrial sediment, and
> acute/chronic versions of these.
> Questions to address are:
> * are there other factors that need to be considered  - its worth listing
> all, so that people can select from a list
> * are there methods that have specifically been developed for similar
> instances (e.g. Cyclone damage, flooding damage, etc)
> * Reefbase has already come quickly to the plate to receive news of impacts,
> but it would be useful to establish a loose network, probably under GCRMN
> and coordinating reporting through Reefbase to  know more about who is
> surveying where, for how long, results, etc ...
> * beyond the biophysical monitroing, there will then be socioeconomic
> assessments as well, but perhaps some time after the trauma of the human
> tragedy has receded ­ it still seems too fresh and awful.
> Impacts of the tsunami will no doubt  be an agenda item at the ICRI CPC in
> the Seychelles in April, so it would be good to have some coordination and
> coherence from the science and assessments prior to that, and to help make
> sense of the human suffering and long term implications.
> All best,
> David
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