Resilience Assessments

Coral reef monitoring, Palmyra Atoll. Photo © Tim Calver

The aim of a resilience assessment is to understand the resilience of a reef system in order to inform management. These assessments specifically target resilience indicators and do not necessarily involve repeating surveys, as opposed to routine or responsive monitoring.

Resilience assessments can help to:

  • Identify sites that have coral communities likely to be more resilient to climate change and other human stressors
  • Identify differences among sites in exposure to stressors
  • Evaluate whether current MPAs include high resilience sites
  • Help managers to prioritize management actions or strategies that will reduce stress at the greatest number of sites, at high resilience sites, and/or at sites that are a conservation priority for other reasons
  • Provide an early warning of decreases in important resilience drivers
  • Provide information to adaptively manage coral reefs following major disturbances, such as coral bleaching events or severe storms

The ability to assess the relative resilience of coral reefs has advanced dramatically in recent years. Maynard et al. (2017) have developed a 10-step process to help managers to assess, map, and monitor indicators of coral reef resilience and guide the prioritization of actions that support resilience in the face of climate change and other stressors. See the opens in a new windowguideopens PDF file and the Coral Reef Resilience Online Course for more details on this 10-step process.

Diver conducting fish surveys. Photo © Kydd Pollock

Diver conducting fish surveys. Photo © Kydd Pollock

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