Siquijor Coral Bleaching Community Watch Project
About the Project
The Philippines has been the site of several recent coral bleaching events, attributable to both global climate change and a rise in sea surface temperatures across Southeast Asia in 2010 related to La Niña. Estimates of the mortality rate of corals from this bleaching varied from ten to sixty percent in different parts of the nation. A lack of precise monitoring in the Philippines, however, has made it difficult both to determine the severity of the crisis and to formulate appropriate responses.
As a follow up to his participation in CORAL’s Reef Resilience to Climate Change workshop, Dean Apistar submitted a proposal to CORAL, requesting funding for the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, a small organization working to preserve biodiversity in the Province of Siquijor, a small island in the Philippines. The microgrant request was approved, and the group began a project to plug holes in the island's local monitoring efforts. The project involves four objectives:
- Organize and capacitate a community watch group with the necessary skills to detect, monitor, and respond to coral bleaching events
- Carry out a preliminary assessment of the nearby reef
- Conduct trainings on a standardized monitoring protocol and propose a bleaching response plan for the community watch group to follow
- Produce a local monitoring manual to more quickly and accurately detect coral bleaching events
Photos of the Project
Members of the People’s Organization of Maite Marine Sanctuary and the Provincial MPA Monitoring Team introduce themselves during the first day of the training.
Staff of CCEF explain the biology of coral polyps and the the causes and effects of coral bleaching.
Members of the People’s Organization of Maite Marine Sanctuary prepare to conduct a Mantatow survey in their village.
The Manta-tow team gets ready to start the survey.
Members of the People’s Organization of Maite Marine Sanctuary perform a timed-swim survey within the shallow portions of their MPA.
Members of the Provincial MPA Monitoring Team conduct the LIT survey inside the sanctuary.
Progress and Outcomes
The project is ongoing, however, several notable milestones have occurred:
- The Provincial MPA Monitoring Team and the People’s Organization of Meite Marine Sanctuary were enlisted to participate in a two-day training on assessment and monitoring of coral bleaching events.
- A diverse group, consisting of fish wardens, village captains, local fishermen, and certified divers from departments including the National Police and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, participated in a two-day workshop where they learned the basics of coral ecology and bleaching, and were provided with a bleaching response plan to integrate into their MPA management protocols.
- The preliminary assessment was completed.
- A draft manual for community education is in development.