Monitoring and Maintenance
Monitoring of the transplanted corals is necessary for adaptive management as well as for assessing progress towards the goals of the rehabilitation project and giving feedback to stakeholders and the local community or client
Regular visual checks on the status of the transplants are enough to identify problems that may need adaptive management (e.g., maintenance action to remove predators), whereas semi-annual or annual systematic surveys may be needed to show progress towards goals (such as increasing coral cover or build up of reef fish biomass).
The parameters to measure during monitoring will depend on the aims and objectives of the project. The most common parameters measured are:
- Live coral cover
- Fish diversity and abundance
- Environmental (e.g., temperature, turbidity)
The following maintenance activities should be considered as part of the monitoring process:
- Reattachment of detached transplants. Depending on the method of transplantation used and the amount of care taken, some corals may become detached as a result of physical disturbance (e.g., waves, fish, divers).
- Removal of loose fouling materials, whether in the form of man-made flotsam (e.g., garbage, fishing net) or natural items like loose seaweed fronds.
- Removal of coral predators such as some gastropods (e.g., Drupella, Coralliophila) and some echinoderms (e.g., Acanthaster, Culcita).
- Removal of fouling organisms, notably fleshy or filamentous macroalgae, sponges and tunicates that may overgrow transplants.