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Biologic Monitoring Sites Enhance Hawai'i Coral Reef Studies

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diver installs stakes
Marking a transect: Scientific divers from the University of Hawai'i and the USGS install permanent stakes in the reef bed south of Moloka'i for relocation of transect sites.
The USGS is working with scientists from the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology to map the coral reef along the south shore of Moloka'i and to detect changes in reef health due to various environmental and anthropogenic factors.

The Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology is a research institute within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa. The coral reef mapping project employs the protocol established by the University's Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP) for a standardized sampling program that can detect changes in coral cover over time with statistical confidence (P>0.8). Data acquired through this program are incorporated into a Hawai'i-wide database for use by managers and reef scientists.

diver at photoquad location
Photographing change: Permanent photoquad locations allow examination of individual colonies over time.
In February, a University of Hawai'i scientific team led by Paul Jokiel joined the USGS team on Moloka'i to collect baseline data using CRAMP techniques. The field work included the installation of permanent transects and photoquadrat locations at 3-m and 10-m depths along the outer forereef and at a depth of 1 m in the inner reef flat.

The establishment of fixed study sites allows quantification of algae, fish, coral, and other invertebrates with ease of re-sampling over time.

diver records digital video
Digital video: Digital video images are collected along transect sites.
Digital video footage was collected along the transects for analyses of percent coral cover using 20 randomly selected video frames per transect with 50 randomly selected points per frame. Images from fixed photoquadrants will allow scientists to investigate a single colony's recruitment, growth, and mortality over time.

Both digital video and photo sampling are also used for groundtruthing of aerial photographs and LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) images. Re-sampling of the study sites will occur once each year.

Related Web Sites
Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology
University of Hawai'i, Manoa
School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
University of Hawai'i, Manoa
Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP)
University of Hawai'i, Manoa

Related Sound Waves Stories
CMG Coral Reef Studies Featured in Moloka'i's Newspaper
March, 2000
Coral Reef Studies on Moloka'i: a Progress Report
December, 1999
USGS Looks at Moloka'i's Coral Reefs
May, 1999

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