QUALITATIVE DATA SUPPLEMENTS PHOTOMOSAIC ANALYSIS
Today, we are going to talk about in-water monitoring for our restoration sites! While the majority of our outplant data is collected from our photomosaic program, in-water data is gathered from outplant sites in the form of qualitative assessments. Qualitative assessments are taken at the same time as photomosaics and are an important complement to our photomosaic monitoring that can explain gaps in photomosaic data as well as inform restoration practices.
CRF™ Sciene Program Manager Amelia Moura uses pen and paper data sheets to monitor boulder corals. ©Alexander Neufeld/Coral Restoration Foundation™
CRF™ routinely tracks the health of outplanted corals. While photomosaic monitoring gives a holistic view of the entire reef ecosystem showing us metrics like survivorship and coral tissue growth, qualitative assessments focus on environmental factors and stressors like water temperature. While a photomosaic is being taken, a second diver will visit all of the coral clusters at a restoration site to record any observed trends. Divers are on the lookout
for any bleaching or diseases such as rapid tissue loss and white band disease. We also keep a close eye on any signs of predation from fire worms or yellow-footed snails that feed on coral tissue; as well as competitors such as algae and sponges that will compete with corals for space on the reef. Finally, divers will record any additional observations such as fusion of corals! All of this information is added to a master database and is used in permitting and funding reports.
Taking qualitative assessments alongside photomosaics allow us to capture an additional tier of information of the condition of corals at the time of the photomosaic. Last week, our newest cohort of interns were trained on how to conduct qualitative assessments at a restoration site on Pickles Reef!
CRF™ interns after completing a day of training. ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™
"Talking Science" Editorial Intern
Adrian Cheh became interested in the marine world after scuba diving for the first time before his freshman year of college. During his time at UCLA, Adrian was involved in research on the ecological impact of invasive kelp on ecosystem function on the SoCal coast, damselfish anti-predator behavior in coral reefs, and the interaction between macroalgae and turf algae on coral reefs in French Polynesia. With CRF Adrian is excited to learn more about restoration and conservation practices in the field while also engaging in public education and outreach.
Coral Chronicles Editor
Madalen Howard is CRF's Communications and Outreach Coordinator. Madalen comes to CRF™ via a winding road from the Tennessee hills, to the South Carolina low country, ending here in Florida’s Coral Reef. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and a Minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Her experience ranges from field research to education, and communications.
Madalen spent the 4 years as a Field Instructor and Social Media Strategist for MarineLab Environmental Education Center. There she was able to study and teach marine ecology, while snorkeling through mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs every day. While at MarineLab she combined her education and research background, entered the world of communications, and developed MarineLab’s social media department from the ground up.
Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature. With CRF™, she is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration, creating inclusive pathways to scientific discovery.