[Coral-List] Rapid assessment protocols for small vessel groundings

Jacqui Michel jmichel at researchplanning.com
Sat Dec 15 13:44:32 EST 2007

Earlier this year I posted a request for guidance on how to impacts 
to corals from small vessel groundings. I want to thank those who 
responded. We finished the protocols for NOAA and have a poster at 
the International Oil Spill Conference to be held in May 2008. The 
paper for the poster includes the three protocols. Pasted below is 
the abstract for the paper. Those interested in getting a copy of the 
paper please send me an email and I will gladly send you it.

jmichel at researchplanning.com

Rapid Assessment Protocols For Small Vessel Groundings

Vessel groundings in coral or seagrass habitats can cause significant 
injury to these benthic communities. Injury assessment requires 
information on the areal extent and degrees of injury at the 
grounding site, including the inbound and exit vessel tracks. 
Scientific divers need to rapidly delineate the boundaries of the 
impacted areas, map the location of specific points (such as large 
dislodged coral heads), and record observations along transects 
underwater. A series of 2-3 page protocols was developed to provide 
guidance on collection of key ephemeral data after small vessel 
groundings, particularly where resources are limited and access is 
difficult. The Initial Assessment protocol outlines the steps to plan 
and conduct emergency phase surveys to document the physical 
injuries. Guidance is provided on how to set up the sampling grids, 
develop site-specific injury categories, and record field parameters. 
The Live Coral Triage protocol describes how to salvage and stabilize 
live coral and associated resources in a coral reef or hardbottom 
habitat that have been physically fractured, dislodged, or 
overturned. The Underwater Video Mapping protocol describes how to 
document and provide a permanent video record of the area, type, and 
degree of physical damage to benthic communities. These protocols for 
small vessel groundings should assist first responders collect 
ephemeral data during the emergency phases of a response and start 
the recovery process.

Jacqueline Michel, Ph.D.

Research Planning, Inc.
P. O. Box 328, Columbia, SC 29202
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(P) 803-256-7322 x 329;  Fax:  803-254-6445;  (cell) 803-513-5650
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