Using a filtering methodology using surveys and scientific literature, the research team winnowed the list to 11 easily measured factors. Among these, the most important factors favoring resilience are heat-resistant coral species and background temperature variability.
The researchers than used the data collected in the previous comprehensive survey of Karimunjawa Marine Park and reassessed it with the new model. The priorities reached were not the same as the first assessment, which suggested that largely unimportant factors biased the selection of sites in the first assessment while increasing the costs of the investigation.
While the new model offers a potentially valuable, cost-effective tool in ranking the resilience of coral reef systems, McClanahan said that further research is needed to evaluate the priority and types of heat-resistant corals and temperature variability needed for conservation planning. He added that one of the more exciting outputs was that the study prioritized future investigations by identifying factors that are least agreed on among scientists and that have the highest potential to promote the resilience of coral reefs.
"This method gives us a foundation for what could become an indispensible assessment tool for identifying conservation priorities," added McClanahan. "We suspect this protocol will drive investigations for the next decade."
|Contact: John Delaney|
Wildlife Conservation Society