[Coral-List] Coral reef monitoring manual

Tim McClanahan tmcclanahan at wcs.org
Wed Feb 25 17:42:52 EST 2009

A manual for monitoring coral reef ecosystems, fisheries, and stakeholders
is freely available from the following links. Below is the introduction,
which briefly describes the context and value of the manual.
Manual and Field Guide for Monitoring Coral Reef Ecosystems, Fisheries, and
This manual was developed for monitoring coral reefs, associated fisheries,
resource users and their larger communities, and managers based on the
long-term monitoring programs of the Wildlife Conservation Society. The
manual was developed to disseminate this information more widely and save
investigators time in developing methods and the spreadsheets that are used
to do the preliminary analyses of these data. This particular version is
based on the experiences and data from the >20 year monitoring program in
Kenyan coral reefs, but the methods have been used in many countries and
regions and the spreadsheets can easily be modified to local circumstances.
In some cases, there are spreadsheets in the public folder that are specific
to a region. The use of this manual and methods will save the users
considerable time in developing their program, develop methods that are
comparable with many of the field studies arising from these programs, and
that have the advantages and ease of the electronic format, and some of the
unique experiences and features of this particular monitoring program. Users
are expected to borrow and use those methods and associated chapter
according to the needs of their programs.
The monitoring methods described here have a number of advantages that will
make it attractive and easy to use. First, the electronic publications and
it¹s availability at a web site will make it more easily available and to
carry. As laptops are now used for travel and fieldwork, these electronic
publications will largely replace the old habit of carrying field manuals,
paper data sheets, and species guides to the field. We have made an effort
to keep the computer memory requirements of the files small and also to
break up the manual into chapters and this and the appendix, or field guide,
can be downloaded and opened and used separately. Secondly, the methods can
be distinguished from previous manuals in that the foci are simple methods
to measure biodiversity, ecological processes, fish catches, and people
lifestyles and perceptions. Processes and biodiversity are really the key
elements of ecological studies and this manual make it easy to study some of
the important ones such as the generic diversity of corals and algae and
herbivory and carnivory. The human condition and perceptions are also
critical to catalyzing change and the chapters and methods associated with
the human dimension have proved very useful in understanding conditions and
assisting change. Finally, the spreadsheets to enter the data are also
available and these will save users considerable time in organizing their
own data sheets and working through calculations. This will also make it
easier for investigators to share information in the same format and,
therefore, increase collaboration.
The ecological methods are outlined from chapter 1 to 10 and cover benthic
surveys, sea urchin populations and biomass estimations, sea cucumber
populations, predation on sea urchins, and seagrass herbivory assays, fish
biomass and community surveys, bleaching intensity surveys, coral disease
surveys, and fish landing data collection. The social surveys include a
number of survey methods used to study communities, including households,
leaders, and resource users in chapter 11 and the methods used to study
management preferences are presented in chapter 12. In each chapter we
detailed the equipment and logistical requirements, general procedures, data
recording and processing methods and some results from Kenya or the Western
Indian Ocean region. We have included photos of key species, as appendices
and this will be updated annually to increase its coverage. We have also
provided a link to the project¹s data entry templates (downloadable from -
<http://idisk.mac.com/trmcclanahan-Public?view=web> ) and social survey
questionnaires. The manual has been kept simple; the language to a minimum,
and using pictures and images to help users catch on quickly. We hope you
find it useful and that it accelerates your work and productivity, increases
collaboration and data sharing, and reduces your costs. Take advantage of
our experience with monitoring and avoid the more unpleasant preparation and
data organization activities by using the methods, spreadsheets, and

Tim McClanahan, PhD
Senior Conservation Zoologist
Wildlife Conservation Society
Coral Reef Conservation
Kibaki Flats no.12
Bamburi, Kenyatta Beach
P.O. Box 99470
Mombasa, Kenya 
Postal Code: 80107

Cell Phone: Kenya +254 734 774 225 or 725 546 822
Skype - trmcclanahan
Tel: +254 41 548 6549
Fax: +254 41 5486810 - Avoid if possible
US Phone - 415 205 8869

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