Improving local capacity for coral monitoring programs in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Pacific Marine Resources Institute (PMRI)
Type Period Note:
Final Progress Report
"Since 2009, the Pacific Marine Resources Institute (PMRI) has been building professional relationships with the coral-reef monitoring programs across Micronesia. The overall goal of this collaboration has been to improve the local capacity to collect statistically sound datasets and interpret emergent trends. The present project was built upon existing efforts, and provided one-on-one collaborations between PMRI and the respective programs to help re-design coral-reef monitoring programs and begin standardized data collection across Micronesia. Year 1 completed activities were founded in an initial workshop where key staff from the jurisdictional monitoring programs came together and agreed upon a standard set of regional and local questions that drive survey designs and protocol selection. These efforts resulted in a standardized monitoring-to-management framework developed for regional programs that will address the needs of the Micronesian Challenge and beyond. After refining monitoring-to-management frameworks and associated survey designs, PMRI began conducted monitoring alongside the local programs in select jurisdiction. Monitoring in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Yap State was conducted through a FY 09-10 NOAA general coral reef conservation award and a Western Pacific Coral Reef Initiative award to PMRI. Through the year 1 cooperative agreement, PMRI was able to continue standardized monitoring in Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. In addition, the year 1 cooperative agreement facilitated the development of standardized, quality controlled datasets pertaining to the coral reef assemblages across Micronesia (appendices), and allowed PMRI to begin working with jurisdictions in initial analyses for their monitoring grant reports to NOAA. The collective efforts have yielded a consistent set of monitoring data across the region that encompasses 10 sites on each main island of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, sampled along gradients of human influence and management. Key outcomes, attached as appendices, included: - Summary power points that describe the current state of the reefs for numerous jurisdictions, and Micronesia as a whole; - Step-by-step guides that compare and contrast expert fish observer datasets with datasets collected by local programs across Micronesia. Guidance documents aim to isolate upon common problems and limitations that local programs face in order to improve the capacity for the future generation of high-quality data; - Standardized datasets pertaining to benthic assemblages, coral communities, and fish abundances across Micronesia; - Localized analyses that summarize the efficacy of key management actions such as marine protected areas; - Regional analyses that summarize key linkages between fish, benthic and coral assemblages in the form of trophic cascades across Micronesia. Such analyses highlight that apex predators and humans have opposite roles in structuring Micronesias coral-reef food webs. These initial analyses will be formally developed during year two of the cooperative agreement with PMRI. Clearly there is a strong need to translate the ensuing data assessments into compelling products that will aid decision making and improve management effectiveness. As this process develops through efforts such as the Micronesian Challenge, standardized, high-quality monitoring data will continue to provide the knowledge-base for decision making and reporting progress."
FY2011 CRCP Project ID 20682; Project Title: I096 International Coral Reef Conservation Grant Programs; Principal Investigator: Scot Frew. International grant NA11NOS4820011