Benthic field methods to detect change and key processes structuring the coral communities
Establishing common sampling techniques will help the CRTR Program combine and compare data from its different CoE locations

This project is being undertaken across the four Centres of Excellence (Philippines, Zanzibar, Heron Island and Puerto Morelos), and is aimed at assessing the dynamics of coral populations and associated coral reef organisms by defining the key ecological processes that regulate the populations. Understanding these processes, assessing their spatial variation and their relationship with state variables, including size distributions, will lead to predictive models of population trajectories, relative population size distributions, and community change under different climate change scenarios. Specifically the project is examining:

  1. The spatial patterns in coral population size frequency distributions and temporal changes of the populations
  2. Key process variables, including rates of recruitment and mortality and whether those processes are scale dependent
  3. The relationships between processes and state variables and whether size distributions reflect population performance
  4. Relationships between state and process variables and how they may relate to key environmental forcing functions

Data generated from the Philippines project, led by Dr Al licuanan and Mark Vergara, will be used in a series of demographic models of population size structure, and projection matrix models of community structure so that the relative impacts of various levels and return times of disturbances (bleaching, disease, predator outbreaks, typhoons, among others) and interventions (reef seeding, coral transplantation, MPA establishment) can be evaluated.

Further Information

  1. Standard Operating Procedures (2.1mb, PDF)

  2. Population dynamics of coral populations under environmental change (3.8mb, PDF)

  3. Manual of Methods for the MBRS Synoptic Monitoring Program (2.3mb, PDF)

  4. Checklists for Indo-Pacific species (under construction)

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