J.MCMANUS at cgnet.com
Thu Oct 17 19:27:00 EDT 1996
cc.: Carl Stepath
FROM:Dr John W McManus/ICLARM
DATE:17 October 1996
Someone recently asked me for some leads into the field of coral reef
monitoring. As I get that kind of inquiry frequently, I though it might be
useful to others if I put my reply on coral-list. The courage is very
patchy and I don't have all the complete references at hand. However, the
leads may be generally useful, and, to roughly paraphrase Charles Darwin, my
colleagues may take great delight in pointing out the shortcomings. Many
apologies for all the important work that I left out.
To understand monitoring on reefs, you should look at its roots, which are
in phytosociology. The best summary is:
Mueller-Dombois, D. and Ellenberg, H. 1974. Aims and Methods of Vegetation
Ecology. Wiley. 547 p.
Other references include the historically important:
Braun-Blanquet, J. 1932. Plant Sociology: the study of Plant Communities.
Reprint 1983 Koeltz Scientific Books. P.O. Box 1360, D-6240 Koenigstein/West
and the collection of papers in:
McIntosh, R.P. 1978. Phytosociology. Benchmark Papers in Ecology V.6.
Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc.
You would want to look into the history of continuous vs discrete and releve
vs. random approaches to community analysis in:
McIntosh, R.P. (?). Background of Ecology.
and from the system view in:
Golley, F.B. 1993. A history of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology. Yale
University Press. New Haven. 254 p.
There are several recent books on Plant Ecology, Community Ecology and
Landscape Ecology that discuss sampling. An important environmental
sampling book is that of Roger Green.
The line transect method for coral reefs was an application of a particular
vegetation method. It, and some other methods were reviewed in the green
UNESCO book on Coral Reef Methods.
There are several papers on errors associated with line transects in the
ICRS volumes and Coral Reefs. A nice statistical analysis of fish transects
Samoilys, M.A. and Carlos, G. 1992. Development of an underwater visual
census method for assessing shallow water reef fish stocks in the South West
Pacific. Final Report. ACIAR. (Available from the Department of Primary
Industries, PO Box 1085, Townsville, Qld, 4810, Australia).
McManus, J. et.al. discuss reef sampling in "Chapter 5. Coral Reef Fishery
Sampling Methods" in the 1996 CRC book on "Stock Assessment:quantitative
Methods and Applications for Small-Scale Fisheries" (Galluci et.al. eds.)
The social science side of reef sampling and monitoring is less
well-documented. See chapters by Ruddle and by McManus in:
Polunin, N.V.C. and Roberts, C.M. 1996. Reef Fisheries. Chapman and Hall.
London. 477 p.
A fairly comprehensive manual for this kind of sampling by Richard Pollnac
is in preparation. It relates directly to ReefBase, covering about half of
ReefBase's 250 tables. An IUCN protocal has also been developed -- contact
Ian Dight or Rodney Salm.
Back on the ecological side, the ASEAN-Australian Manual is under revision.
Contact Clive Wilkinson.
We have just drafted a ReefBase Aquanaut Manual aimed at volunteer divers.
It will be out in a few months. There are some good expedition protocols
for volunteer divers available from several groups listed in the Greenpeace
International Coral Reef NGO Directory.
Be sure to look through past papers by Robert Johannes on how to interview
to get ecological and management information, starting with his book "Words
of the Lagoon".
Biochemical sampling is covered in the EIA literature and many articles.
I have just listed a small part of a massive literature, emphasizing some
sources which are oftern overlooked. In particular, it is very important to
know the history of the methods, in part to avoid re-living debates carried
out in the 1920's to 1950's.
Most of the methods we now use were developed to understand community
structure or ecosystem function. Both of these are useful in, but do not
directly address, managing coral reefs. The concerns in management are
mostly Ecosystem Health, Risk Assessment, Impact Assessment, Impact
Abatement, Multiobjective Optimization Cross-field Cross-sectoral Decision
Analysis, and other aspects of Integrated Coastal Zone Management.
The ecological side of monitoring nowadays (which can never be fully
separated from the social science sides) is focused primarily on ecosystem
health. We are currently developing quantitative working definitions of
coral reef ecosystem health which can be used to help focus both the
sampling and the analysis of the data in monitoring programs. If you want
to get involved in that aspect, you might want to subscribe to the journal
"Ecosystem Health" and read the book of the same title by Robert Costanza.
John W McManus
ReefBase Project Leader
email: J.McManus at cgnet.com
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