What is coral restoration monitoring?

Monitoring is an important component of Reef Restoration and Reef Management activity. It's an important skill set that our student need to master.

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Monitoring is essential to any coral reef restoration and reef management project.

Selecting and setting up the monitoring area is an important step.

It involves regular and systematic observation of the restored and natural reef ecosystem to assess the evolution of reef health, evaluate the effectiveness of restoration methods, and identify any potential issues that may hinder the project’s success.

Here are some key aspects to consider for monitoring a coral reef restoration project:

Defining a proper base line of the goal to be achieved in part of the first step in Coral Reef Restoration. Monitoring helps you achieve that.
  1. Define monitoring goals: A lot of data can be collected. So the first step in designing a monitoring program is to clearly define the goals of the project and the monitoring method. This may include measuring the growth, survival, and coral cover of coral colonies, assessing changes in biodiversity and community structure, and monitoring water quality…
  2. Establish baseline data: Before the restoration activities begin, it’s important to collect baseline data on the state of the reef ecosystem. This may include information on the coral cover, species diversity, and abundance of fish and other organisms.
  3. Choose appropriate monitoring methods: There are various methods for monitoring coral reefs, such as visual and observation surveys, transect, and remote sensing (Especially for water quality) or 3D photogrammetry. All the different methods have different outcomes, costs, and time…
  4. Establish a monitoring schedule: Monitoring should be carried out at regular intervals to track changes over time. This may include monthly, quarterly, or annual surveys depending on the project timeline and the specific goals.
  5. Collect and analyze data: Data collected during monitoring should be analyzed to evaluate the progress of the restoration project. This may involve statistical analysis to identify trends and patterns in the data, as well as the development of visualizations and maps to illustrate the results.
  6. Adjust restoration activities as necessary: The results of monitoring can help guide the decision-making process and inform any necessary changes to the restoration approach. For example, if the monitoring data shows that coral growth rates are lower than expected, adjustments may need to be made to the placement or type of coral used in the restoration.
Monitoring helps you to identify and correct possible mistakes. It’s a decision-making tool.

Ocean Gardener Monitoring course:

Overall, monitoring is a critical component of any coral reef restoration project, providing valuable information to guide decision-making and ensure the success of the project.

1 week out of 4, is dedicated to monitoring in our coral reef restoration course. The course focuses on 3 different methods: Rapid Reef Assessment, Line Band Video Transect and 3D photogrammetry.

Although it looks pretty straight forward, monitoring requires a lot of skills under water.

Rapid Reef Assessment is a fast, inexpensive, qualitative method to quickly grade dive site conditions. It’s a very effective method when time and cost are limited. This method is very useful for Reef Management.

Line Band Video Transect, records a 10m2 video of a part on the reef. This can be then used in post-processing to quantify, coral cover, species diversity, and substrate composition… An easy but time-consuming method to extract data. This method is very useful in Coral Reef Restoration project management.

Here is the result of 3D photogrammetry on a Coral reef restoration site.
Here is the result of 3D photogrammetry on a Coral reef restoration site.

3D photogrammetry monitoring is an expensive, and time-consuming method that gives very accurate and visual results to assess Coral Reef Restoration projects. The range of possible data collected is very extensive.

The course will give you the knowledge and develop the skills to set up such monitoring.

More information here: https://oceangardener.org/internship/

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