Reef Check Teams in Action
Site Spotlight - Belize
Methods Check - 2005 Changes to Reef Check Protocol
Reef Check News
|Reef Check Teams in Action|
| Dominican Republic: Youth Program Starts in Santo Domingo
By Rebecca Albright
This fall, Reef Check established a group of 20 youth volunteers, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Under the direction of Rebecca Albright, Marine Ecology professor at New Horizons School, the students, ages 15-17, attended the first meeting on September 15, 2004.
This meeting was a forum to discuss the importance of coral reefs and the perils they currently face in the Dominican Republic, and the importance of the younger generation's involvement in organizations such as Reef Check.
When asked why they attended the meeting and why they felt Reef Check was an important organization, Valery Adams, fifteen years old, responded: ?It is horrible how this beautiful environment is going to disappear simply because most people don?t know that the problem exists, or don?t know what they can do about it. I discovered what is going on and a project that can help me save my country, an island that I love and that I strongly want to preserve. So I am not going to ignore it and stay with my arms crossed- I want to help do something about it!?
All students are extremely enthusiastic to begin training and surveying; they carried out their first snorkel survey at the end of October at a local shallow reef site in Boca Chica. Specialized underwater guides are being prepared, catering towards young people. Please contact Rebecca Albright for more information on this program.
Antigua and St Kitts: RC coordinator organizes new programs
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: 2004 OUCARE Expedition
The expedition team, made up of 8 graduate and undergraduate scuba divers from Oxford University, brought many different talents and left with newly acquired skills, along with a greater appreciation of PNG and its people. For over 6 weeks the team conducted baseline surveys of the coral community composition, fish and invertebrate diversity and abundance. Overall, Reef Check data was collected for 15 sites in the regions of Lovongai, Nonovaul and Enang.
The aim of the expedition was to describe the status of unknown coral reefs of Kavieng. The data the expedition generated provide a baseline to enable future monitoring of marine environmental change in the Kavieng region, as well as providing an approximate comparison to other regions. Data also were collected alongside socio-economic data gathered by the ?PNG National Fisheries Authority Coastal Fisheries Management and Development Project? to look for possible correlations between community activity and reef status.
A total of 253 20m transects were surveyed on 16 different sites in 3 different wards. From these transects the reefs appeared to be, true to their reputation, highly diverse and healthy, with a high diversity and abundance of key indicator fish and invertebrate species. Preliminary analysis shows a high percentage of live hard and soft coral cover, and low incidence of both coral bleaching and coral disease.
The expedition attracted a large amount of attention both at the provincial and national level. The team headlined the national newspaper ?The Post Courier,? and were featured on local radio on several occasions. Radio was useful in raising the profile of the team's work among the local communities, and also in highlighting the environmental concerns for reefs. The team hopes that this combined with a speech at a local education forum helped to increase the awareness of coral reefs as a valuable resource within the Province.
Philippines: RC Takes Part in Maritime Threats Workshop
The training formally introduced Reef Check to the military for the first time anywhere in the world. Reef Check recognizes the importance of the military, especially in law enforcement for the conservation of coral reefs worldwide. Some reefs are also found in very remote areas where the military has installations, emphasizing its potential role in generating data from surveys.
The participants included William van Houten, representative from the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment); Gregory Flick, Deputy Chief IMA USARPAC; Lt. Col. Curtis Turner and CDR Robert Wohlschlegel from the USAWC; Col. Harun bin Hitam and CDR Saifudin bin Kamaruddin from the Malaysian Ministry of Defense; Pol. Lt. Col. Yanapong Somabha and Pol. Lt. Col. Chalermpol Maliwan from the Royal Thai Marine Police Division; Clare Gatehouse from the Australian Embassy in Manila; Col. Avianto Saptono from the Indonesian Army; CDR Joe Agra from JUSMAG-Philippines; and Asst. Secretary Alejandro III, Asst. Secretary Jose Ferrer, Jr. and Joji Aragon from the Philippines Dept. of National Defense.
Local participants included Pepe Berido, chairman of the Lapu-lapu City Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council and Efren Tarong of the Talima Marine Sanctuary. The RC Philippines team consisted of the country director Dr. Domingo Ochavillo and staff Mario Marababol and Mylene Grace Arinasa. The team was also joined by marine biology student volunteers from University of San Carlos- Marie Frances Chiong, Danilo Delizo, Jr., Johann Georsua and Eduardo Amante Jr. Myrtle Arias of the Region 7 Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also joined the RC team. Please contact Domingo Ochavillo for more information.
Since March 2003, Reef Check-related project activities have supported the establishment of the 15-hectare Talima Marine Sanctuary and adjacent 10 ha Baring MPA. Together, they form the largest protected and monitored reef area within the Philippines? second largest urban area ? Metro Cebu. In addition to Reef Check, innovative socio-economic assessment and monitoring (SocMon) approaches supported by NOAA have been pioneered for the Talima MPA. This MPA is led by ?Nong? Alipio Dano and his wife, who have personally watched and helped to enforce this new MPA on a daily, 24-hour basis. Their son "Pogoy" also has an active role as a support diver for surveys and reef conservation activities, such as establishing mooring buoys and planting corals. Key results were reported at the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium. In the Philippines and perhaps many similar areas, it may take such personal sacrifice to achieve success. It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Mrs. Dano in September due to natural causes. Please visit www.cebudive.com for more information.
TANZANIA: Oregon Students Travel to Tanga for Reef Check
In September, students from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon traveled to Tanzania to visit RC Tanzania's local Tanga team to learn about Reef Check. Following 4 days of training led by RC Tanga's Hassan Kalombo and Eric Verheij, the 22 students surveyed two sites at Maziwe and Fungu Zinga reefs. For more information on RC Tanga, contact Hassan or Eric.
|Site Spotlight- Belize|
2004 marked the first year Reef Check became well established in Belize. Green Reef Environmental Institute, in San Pedro, was named the regional training center and Green Reef Executive Director, Guillermo ?Mito? Paz, is serving as the regional coordinator.
Through a grant from the Oak Foundation, Reef Check Belize trained Marine Protected Area staff in the Reef Check methodology and conducted RC surveys along the coast of Belize. A core team of four was trained before the expedition and conducted all the surveys. Team members included: Mito Paz, Regional Coordinator and Team Scientist, Mario Graniel, Green Reef Tour Guide Instructor and Team Leader, Laurie Smith, Hol Chan Marine Reserve Peace Corps Volunteer, and Kristen Stelljes, Green Reef Peace Corps Volunteer. This team traveled the length of Belize to reach the marine protected area staff in their reserves, making it easier and less time consuming for them to participate in the trainings. All staff present at the Marine Protected Areas, and the University of Belize staff working at Turneffe-Calabash were trained in the Reef Check methodology. The staff at Bacalar Chico, Hol Chan, and Caye Caulker were trained in October.
During the expedition, the survey team noted few groupers on the reef, attributed to overfishing. Diadema are starting to come back on some reefs, especially in shallow areas. Almost all massive starlet corals (Siderastrea siderea) showed bleaching, and black band, white plague, and Aspergillosis diseases were seen.
Green Reef is also planning to bring Reef Check into primary schools using hands-on activities developed by Robyn Woodman Jones and Reef Check. The activities will teach students about reef ecology in an interactive, entertaining manner and complement presentations and field trips Hol Chan Marine Reserve has been conducting with primary school students. The San Pedro High School environmental club and Guardians of the Reef will be trained in species identification and Reef Check in order to assist Green Reef and Hol Chan in their basic research activities. The students were SCUBA certified this summer and will be able to use their skills to expand their knowledge of the reef and learn how to do basic marine research.
Green Reef will also be working with 28 students from the University of Belize SubAqua Club to train them in Reef Check methodologies. SubAqua is the dive club at the University and many of its members are biology and marine biology students. The Reef Check experience will help them develop research skills and practical knowledge of the reef ecosystems in Belize.
Also earlier this year, the British organization Reef Conservation International Ltd (Reef CI) started to bring divers to Belize to do reef monitoring. Green Reef is partnering with Reef CI to teach the Reef Check method to Reef CI participants and use them to do surveys. Reef CI is located in southern Belize and Green Reef is located in the north. This will allow each organization to focus on their region while making it easier to survey the whole country.
|Mark Your Calendars|
REEF CHECK REUNION DAY AT BOOT FAIR IN DUESSELDORF
The Amadis mission is to train communities about the value of coral reefs, their ecology, and how to scientifically monitor them in areas where monitoring is scarce to help further public stewardship and understanding of the threats facing coral reefs around the world.
The Amadis Project is working closely with Reef Check and regional partners to conduct surveys of coral reef health and human impact using SCUBA, coordinate and train new Reef Check teams, and to assist several partner projects by providing a research vessel and team of 5 divers.
The Amadis, following its journey from the United Kingdom, will start in the Caribbean and then take off on its Pacific leg, where it will end in New Zealand. The following is a tentative itinerary for the Caribbean leg of the journey:
DECEMBER 29 - JANUARY 9, 2005: BARBADOS- training of Amadis crew, surveys
JANUARY 10 ? 16, 2005: ST. LUCIA- surveys, assist Kai Wulf and SMMA team
JANUARY 17 ? 24, 2005: ST. VINCENT- assist newly formed team in 2nd set of surveys
JANUARY 25 ? MARCH 12, 2005: GRENADINES- train 5 new teams on BEQUIA, MAYREAU, CANOUAN, UNION ISLAND, and CARRIACOU; assist established team with surveys; collaborate with Sustainable Grenadines Project; Public Service Announcement, teacher training workshop in marine conservation
MARCH 13 ? 30, 2005: GRENADA- train and assist new team; monitor effects of Hurricane Ivan
|Reef Check Champion- Keith Kei|
Most people do not think of coral reefs when they think of Hong Kong. Hong Kong?s reefs are primarily concentrated along the northeast coast but corals are found throughout. While the common stereotype of Hong Kong people is that they only think about commerce, there is a surprisingly strong environmental movement there. Keith Kei began his Reef Check career while still a graduate student in Hong Kong. As an avid diver, biologist and scuba instructor, he was a natural to become Reef Check coordinator. Starting from a few teams in 1997, he has devoted long hours to building up the program to become one of the largest in the world. Imagine, tiny Hong Kong with more than 30 Reef Check teams. Keith has been assisted by Terence Fong, a colleague in grad school and by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Together, they have shown how a training program and extensive network of survey sites can be assembled at very low cost. They have also strongly demonstrated how Reef Check can build public support for conservation. Check out their website at: http://parks.afcd.gov.hk/newmarine/event/reefcheck/index_e.htm
If you know a Reef Check Champion you feel should be highlighted, please email a brief description of his/her contribution as well as a photo to RC Headquarters.
2005 Changes to Reef Check Protocol
The second change would be to specifically include all long-spined black sea urchins from the Genus Echinothrix with the Genus Diadema, currently a Reef Check indicator organism. It was felt it was too difficult for volunteers to distinguish these two groups and that most likely this was the default position since all these urchins perform essentially similar ecological roles.
|Reef Check News|
TSUNAMI RESPONSE- LATE BREAKING NEWS
Reef rescue 2004 a huge success
Singer/actress Jessica Simpson cheered as husband Nick Lachey, a fellow singer/actor, and actress Kelly Hu received the Triton and Guardian of the Reef awards for their support of coral reef conservation at Reef Check's annual charity event, Reef Rescue 2004, held September 30 in Santa Monica, California.
Kelly Hu was presented with the Guardian of the Reef award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and creativity to raise public awareness, promote coral reef education, and foster community participation in the protection of coral reef ecosystems. Nick Lachey received the Triton Award to recognize his environmental consciousness and commitment to keeping our reefs healthy for people and marine life. Both honorees took part in the inaugural Kelly Slater Invitational in Fiji in May. Nick and Kelly snorkeled on local reefs with RC Fiji team members, learning more about coral reefs, the impacts reefs are facing, and how Reef Check is contributing to the solution.
?When we were in Fiji last May, we learned about the work that Reef Check is doing to save coral reefs, and they need our help,? said Lachey.
Kelly Hu, originally from Hawaii, felt a very personal connection to the cause. ?I grew up in the islands and I have personally seen the problems that overfishing and pollution have caused on our reefs. I was very impressed with how Reef Check works with local villagers in Fiji to help them take care of their reefs.?
Actress Sharon Lawrence emceed the event and said, ?I started diving in the Caribbean right after college and went on to become an advanced diver. I love it. Sadly, the coral reefs that I saw more than twenty years ago have been so badly damaged that they are hardly recognizable. Thank goodness that Reef Check has teams in over 70 countries working to save the reefs.?
Other celebrities lending their support to the evening included Barbi Benton, Carol Connors, Cheryl Holdridge, Ryan Carnes, Brody Hutzler, Kate Linder, Terry Moore and Kyla Pratt.
The surf industry was also heavily represented with attendees including 2004 World Long Board Champion Daize Shayne and Body Glove Founder and diving/surfing legend Bob Meistrell .
The funds raised will benefit Reef Check programs and the new and upcoming Reef Check California.
REEF CHECK HEADQUARTERS MOVES TO THE BEACH
Arrecifes de Cozumel Marine Park Gets Reef Check Trained
Dive masters and staff from the Arrecifes de Cozumel Marine Park were recently trained in the Reef Check protocol to monitor the reef health of one of the Caribbean?s top dive destinations. Visited by at least 2 cruise ships a day, Cozumel is considered one of the top destinations for travelers wanting to experience Caribbean culture and environment. Local characteristics and spectacular water clarity at the reefs in Cozumel entices most of these travelers to get off their cruise ships and snorkel or scuba in the Arrecifes de Cozumel Marine Park.
This high visitation sometimes means trouble for the shallow reef and its inhabitants and it is the duty of the Park?s staff and local Dive Masters to minimize the effects of visitors to their reefs. They decided to do what many divers around the world are doing-- get trained in Reef Check to conduct their own reef monitoring. By doing so, they have placed themselves in a position to track the effects of all those divers.
When visiting Cozumel, look for these Reef Check trained Dive Masters and Park Staff so they can show you their recent results and guide you on the right dive on Cozumel?s reefs.
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|Coral Reefs in the News|
Status of Coral Reefs of the World 2004 Now Available&a