[Coral-List] LIT, digital photo archive back-up, and global insight
coral at scientist.com
Mon Dec 29 22:38:46 EST 2008
Dear All,This seems to be an excellent idea. However, there must be
people (from both GOs and NGOs) around the world taking regular pictures
of permanent quadrats. This mightbe a good place to start, though the
quadrat method might not be the best one!I recently started doing some
LITs in Mauritius and plan to monitor them on a yearly basis.BestRanjeet
----- Original Message -----
From: "Les Kaufman"
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Cc: "Lynne Hale" , "Marea Hatziolos" , "Leah Bunce" , "John Musinsky"
, "Stuart Banks" , "Jamie Bechtel" , "Roger McManus" , "Hector
Guzman" , "Jean-Francois Bertrand" , "Sylvia Earle" , "Rodrigo Moura"
, "Burton Shank" , "James Comley" , "David Obura" , "Graham Edgar" ,
"Greg Stone" , "Jon_Witman Witman"
Subject: [Coral-List] LIT, digital photo archive back-up, and global
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 13:21:27 -0500
Big second to Josh's advice, plus this. We (MMAS) are finding the
addition of photo transects (high-res digital over LIT track, HD vid
probably just as good) to be invaluable in the analysis,
interpretation, and post-hoc hypothesis testing involving reef
monitoring as part of an experimental design. If all you want is the
basics- e.g. proportional benthic coverage and species composition-
the field LIT data are fine. However, if you or anybody who will use
your data is interested in time series or erecting hypotheses about
the processes that drive change over time, having pictures of the
place can make all the difference in the world.
Book keeping for all these space-hogging digital photos can be a
nightmare but I would wager it is worth the effort. Our attentions
as a community should be turning from documenting death to rethinking
resurrection, and the meta-analysis of regeneration across all of the
places that we are now doing reef monitoring could provide a Rosetta
stone to understanding how to maximize and accelerate reef
regeneration. For the next several decades at least, maximizing
regeneration is what will have to pass for coral reef conservation
over most of the world. It is also how we will know if local
conservation efforts are delivering any measurable benefit. We have
a pretty good handle now on how reefs die (or at least shift away
from hard coral dominance), we can play that tape in our sleep and do
so regularly in our nightmares. Much more complicated and important
right now is how they return to being coral reefs, and for
understanding that, the pictures are invaluable. The lives and
careers of coral reef scientists for the coming century will be
mostly about cycles and processes of death and regeneration: up and
down, up and down. Can we arrange for there to be more ups than
I propose that we create a global archive of comparable reef image
time series. It can be a virtual one, by virtue of us all just
making what we have accessible on-line. Somebody can even write a
little spider that would be able to wrap and consolidate relevant
image data across the web through a query. This may sound a bit
scary in terms of data ownership and such, but these things can be
overcome. With such an archive it would be possible to observe
changes on a global scale, and parse out local vs. global dynamics.
It would be like a marine counterpart to the tropical forest network
of 50-hectare plots, or NEON, the ever-nascent US network of
ecological observatories. Regional data center initiatives like
those of CARICOMP, GBRMPA, CORDIO, and others can help, along with
GCRMN. We should do it scratch but be ready for a push on UNEP,
UNDP, (and in the US NASA, NSF, NOAA), and World Bank support. What
we are talking about is a ground-up arm of the proposed top-down
remote sensing approach practiced by Dustan, Mumby and many others.
For what it is worth, we are starting on a tiny scale in our own
project at Conservation International. In addition to LIT and visual
fish census data, in MMAS we are making digital image records of the
fixed transects in our design (we also have random transects that are
longer), from the four project nodes- Brazil (Abrolhos), Belize, TEP
(Coiba and Galapagos) and Fiji, 4-6 sites (or more) in each node with
several depths and replication within-site. The methods are not
identical across the nodes because the reefs and conditions are very
varied, but they are comparable. If for nothing else, we have
already found this modicum of standardization, combined with having
the digital image archives, to be invaluable. We can look at the
photos and it suggests ideas and hypotheses that would have been
difficult to extract from LIT data alone.
Anyway if we could pull this off it would be a very useful addition
to our current (limited) visualization and forecasting ability for
the global ecological "weather" of coral reefs, for which we now are
drawn together by the NOAA bleaching information network and GCMRN.
The harder the data the better, though.
Even a room full of carefully trained, supervised, and vetted
paraprofessionals (and students) running PointCount and selected
measurements on this data archive could get us a lot of practical and
Many of us are doing stuff like this and let's face it- when it is
just in our own areas, it can be pretty boring. We certainly need
this kind of work locally and regionally, to drive adaptive
management. Aggregated across the world, however, it could trigger
awareness, insight, emotion, and action on a scale commensurate with
the challenge of global change.
Professor of Biology
Boston University Marine Program
Marine Management Area Science
> Today's Topics:
> 1. Best practice for LIT surveys (Lindsay Sullivan)
> 2. Re: Best practice for LIT surveys (Feingold, Joshua)
> From: Lindsay Sullivan
> Dear Coral-listers,
> If anyone has experience of using the line intercept transect
> (LIT) method to carry out benthic assemblage surveys I wonder if
> you could help me.?
> I have been taught that in high surge conditions the fibreglass
> tape must be secured to?coral colonies to prevent it moving
> around, wound around massive colonies and through the fingers of
> branching and digitate colonies for example,?however I have
> concerns that (a) this is damaging to the coral and (b) the
> survey?is no longer random or even haphazard, but that the
> results are selected by the diver as he carefully tucks the tape
> around coral.
> Does anyone have similar opinions or experiences of this method
> and can offer possible solutions? Despite the common usage
> of?LITs for coral reef surveys I have been unable to find
> detailed instructions of how to ensure the tape?remains
> secured?close the substrate and in a straight line, so wonder if
> perhaps this is an accepted weakness of the method?
> Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
> Best regards,
> From: "Feingold, Joshua"
> Hi Lindsay,
> The line-intercept method is utilized in the AGRRA protocols and
> results. You are correct that movement of the tape limits easy
> of intercepted corals, especially when there is strong surge. You
> minimize movement by putting good tension on the line, but that
> strong supports (e.g. permanent stakes) on either end. When I
> method, I do not wrap the tape around corals or any other object,
> to observe the movement of the line over several surge-cycles and
> the position for data collection. I agree that wrapping the line or
> purposefully running it to minimize movement introduces bias and
> is something
> to avoid. Another option is to use 1/16" braided nylon line instead
> fiberglass tape. The nylon line is not affected as much as the
wider tape by
> surge, but is still subject to movement. This would also require
the use of
> an alternate measuring device to determine linear distance of the
> coral under
> the non-marked line.
> The LIT is an effective technique, but does have its limitations.
> Joshua Feingold
> Nova Southeastern University
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Ranjeet Bhagooli (PhD MIBIOL)
Department of BioSciences
University of Mauritius
Ph:+230-4541041 Ext. 1498
E-mail: r.bhagooli at uom.ac.mu, rbhagooli at gmail.com
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