Global reef project seeks SIGEO model
September 17, 2012
All coral reefs are not equal, but the health of most is in jeopardy. Properly evaluating rates of reef decline requires a common protocol, argues STRI scientist emeritus Jeremy Jackson in a report released last week.
“There is a desperate need for coral reef ecologists and managers to develop a universal standard for monitoring the ecological status and trends of coral reefs,” notes the report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. The report stresses the need for cooperation among scientists across regions.
Jackson and co-authors point to the Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatories, or SIGEO, as a model to follow for its 47 forest plots and 75 partner institutions. “Achieving a comparable network … should be the ultimate goal of the GCRMN in the coming decade.”
The GCRMN has started by compiling and standardizing data sets from across the Caribbean as a first step toward publishing a global synthesis in 2017. With the summary statistical analyses of the vast majority of coral reef surveys put on a single, free Web site, the GCRMN will provide “the definitive scientific baseline for all further reef surveys, policy and management.”