A brief summary of projects under implementation of the CCCR:

Project 1
Measuring resilience in coral reef monitoring programmes and rapid resilience assessments of coral reefs around the world

Project 2
Testing coral reef resistance and resilience

Project 3
Improving bleaching early warning and response plans

Project 4
Measuring herbivory

Project 5
Resilience bibliography and resources

Project 6
Coral reef resilience and resistance DVD

All of the projects are based on partnerships with members of the CCCR, thus the working group provides a framework for collaboration often with leadership within specific projects coming from different partners. Where possible, synergies with activities, products and outcomes will be developed to maximize the leverage of existing and new funding, and development of joint products and outcomes.

Project 1: Measuring resilience in coral reef monitoring programmes and rapid resilience assessments of coral reefs around the world

Coral reef monitoring has been increasingly incorporated among the core activities of MPA management agencies and their use of technical support from scientists. However many programmes record very basic information, and do not maximize the potential for using resilience concepts in supporting effective management of coral reefs. Monitoring programmes with an interest in incorporating resilience principles and variables will participate in this activity to identify the extent to which what they have done has assisted in improving management of coral reefs, how to improve this, and how to incorporate resilience enhancements at appropriate technical and funding levels. 

This will be initiated through the development of a Rapid Assessment technique for documenting and monitoring resilience of coral reefs with respect to climate change.

The goals for this project were determined in a workshop of the Resilience session at ITMEMS, with leadership from TNC programmes presenting aspects of their resilience monitoring approaches. The project will include the following:

  • Compiling and summarizing information from monitoring programmes that have incorporated resilience principles and variables to assess their results in the light of resilience and reef health, relevance to management needs, and cost effectiveness.

Field testing - comparing the strengths and weaknesses of variables and methodologies in each programme to identify best practise options. Field testing has been carried out during:

  1. Workshop of the World Bank Coral Reef Targeted Research Bleaching Working Group, April 2007.
  2. Edwin W. Pauley Summer Program in Marine Biology/World Bank Coral Reef Targeted Research Bleaching Working Group, June-July 2007.
  3. Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Expedition with IUCN, National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, National Coral Reef Institute, and Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, September 2007.
  4. WWF Climate vulnerability assessment of coral reefs of the Mafia Island Marine Park, November 2007.
  5. WWF annual monitoring of the Kiunga National Marine Reserve, November-December 2007.
  • Compiling a ‘Coral reef resilience monitoring manual’. 
  • Implementing manual and conducting vulnerability and resilience to climate change assessments of MPAs around the world.

In 2009, the CCCR has entered a new phase of implementation for measuring resilience in coral reef monitoring programmes and is applying the "Coral reef resilience monitoring manual" at Marine Protected Area sites in three major regions around the world (Western Indian Ocean, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean). The Working Group is working in collaboration with local scientists and institutions to carry out resilience assessments of the chosen sites. Outputs from these resilience assessments will be posted on this website in due course. A list of sites where the methodology is being implemented can be found here:

Resilience field assessment table

Measuring resilience in coral reef monitoring programmes and rapid resilience assessments of coral reefs around the world:

Nosy Hara

Project 2: Testing coral reef resistance and resilience.

This project establishes replicated natural or observational experiments at key sites globally to test resistance and resilience factors in coral bleaching and recovery. The project builds on past trials conducted by partners, with the intention of expanding their scope and comparability from 2007 on, thus testing resilience factors in multiple sites and regions. Where possible, transplants and other field-based manipulations will also be supported.This project will improve the interpretation of monitoring and bleaching response information. 

Project 3: Improving bleaching early warning and response plans.

While current prediction tools on thermal stress are useful and widely used, new research is showing alternative approaches and variables that might vary in importance from one region to another. To maximize the utility of early warning to management, and its use in Project 2, a sub-group of experts conducting thermal stress and prediction work will be established to compile best-practise recommendations that regional partners, developing countries and/or MPA planners/scientists can use in predicting bleaching risk.

This project is developing a coral reef rapid response monitoring protocol applicable to developing country Marine Protected Areas. This will linked with regionally coordinated bleaching warning networks and the establishment of contingency funding for implementation of emergency responses where resources are lacking.

The bleaching monitoring protocols will be targeted at implementation within the constraints of most developing country coral reef MPA systems. These constraints include limited human and financial resources, variable backgrounds and baseline data sets on coral reef health, and a broad spectrum of users and stakeholders in coral reefs. Furthermore, a data management system will be put in place, with analysis and reporting through national, regional and global nodes for coral reef monitoring.

A primary objective for this project is to implement the rapid response capability during the potential bleaching season of 2007, covering the Western Indian Ocean, South Asia, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean.

Useful links: Western Indian Ocean Bleaching Update 2007.

Project 4: Measuring herbivory

One key factor in resilience, herbivory, is as subject of research and as yet there are no clear global guidelines on rapid and basic herbivory factors to include in a monitoring programme. Participants at a South Asia IUCN/TNC Resilience workshop in Colombo (January 2007) identified this as too large a gap to fill with available information. This project has established a sub-group of experts to consider current knowledge on herbivory to produce a recommended list of key taxa or functional groups to include in monitoring programmes, customized to the main coral reef regions.

Useful links: South Asia Reef Resilience Workshop, Bentota, Sri Lanka, Summary Record and Experts' Summary

Project 5: Resilience bibliography and resources

This project continually updates a bibliography on resilience publications and tools relevant to coral reefs and climate change, and to both scientists and managers. It will serve as a primary resource for all the other projects under the CCCR. Initially it is available as a prdf, Microsoft Word or EndNote document, and depending on its utility during the project may be built up into a database. The project website is also maintained under this project.

Useful links: Bibliography

Project 6: Coral reef resilience and resistance DVD

Launched at the IUCN Conservation Congress in October 2008, this educational DVD is useful for managers, teachers, coral reef practitioners or anyone who is interested in learning more about coral reefs and climate change. It focuses on coral bleaching and how coral colonies and coral reef ecosystems can resist and recover from bleaching stress. The DVD explores various environmental and ecological factors that affect a coral reef's resilience to, or capacity to recover from, bleaching, and is a good introduction to the subject.

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