Archive for April 2011

Ocean Rehab is now on Facebook Causes   Leave a comment

Facebook Causes Link

Facebook Causes Link for Ocean Rehab

Ocean Rehab is now on Facebook Causes

Please join our Causes Group as a member on Facebook Causes


Divers Direct raises the Green and White Diver Flag for EarthDay 2011   Leave a comment

Green Diver Flag for EarthDay

Green Diver Flag for EarthDay

Divers Direct raises the Green and White Diver Flag for EarthDay 2011  

Divers Direct Green diver down Flag

Divers Direct Green diver down Flag


Many thanks to Divers Direct for raising our “Diving with Conservation in Mind” Flag.

The Flag is visible from I-95 and Northlake Blvd in Palm Beach Gardens.


Ocean Rehab Initiative: Reef Check and Reef Base newsletters   Leave a comment

Contributed to Ocean Rehab Initiative Inc:



Ocean Rehab Initiative Banner

Ocean Rehab Initiative Banner


Reef Check March 2011 and Reef Base April 2011 Newsletters for serious Reefers.

World Resources Institute (WRI), a global environmental think tank, released a report this month called Reefs at Risk Revisited. The report compiled data from numerous government agencies, international organizations, research institutions, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and initiatives. Reef Check was an important partner in the report’s analysis. 

The new report finds that approximately 75% of the world’s coral reefs are currently threatened by local and global pressures. Local pressures pose the most immediate threat—especially from overfishing and destructive fishing, which is particularly widespread in Southeast Asia.

Other key findings of Reefs at Risk Revisited included the following:

  • The majority of the world’s coral reefs are threatened by human activities.
  • Local threats to coral reefs are the most severe in Southeast Asia and least severe in Australia.
  • Threat levels have increased dramatically over a ten-year period.
  • Changes in climate and in ocean chemistry represent significant and growing threats.
  • While over one quarter of the world’s coral reefs are within protected areas, many are ineffective or only offer partial protection.
  • Dependence on coral reefs is high in many countries, especially small-island nations. 
  • Degradation and loss of reefs will result in significant social and economic impacts. 

Reefs at Risk Revisited builds on WRI’s 1998 report, Reefs at Risk, which served as “a call to action for policymakers, scientists, nongovernmental organizations, and industry to confront one of the most pressing, though poorly understood, environmental issues”. The initial report played a critical role in raising awareness and promoting action to protect marine areas and lessen risks.  

Reef Check has helped to develop a new, detailed assessment of the status of and threats to the world’s coral reefs by assisting with the Reefs at Risk Revisited project. According to WRI’s Executive Summary, the project evaluates threats to coral reefs from a wide range of human activities, and includes an assessment of climate-related threats to reefs. It also contains a global assessment of the vulnerability of nations and territories to coral reef degradation.

The results of this project will act as a catalyst for changes in policy and practice that could preserve coral reefs and the benefits they can provide for future generations. Click here to download the full report.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a formal international treaty entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives: 

  1. The conservation of biological diversity
  2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity 
  3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources 

So far 163 countries have ratified the treaty but it has been difficult to track progress. In 2010, a series of five Strategic Goals and twenty Targets were drawn up to try to help determine how well countries are achieving biodiversity conservation. Named the “Aichi Targets” (for the town where the targets were agreed), the Strategic Goals are:

  • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
  • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use 
  • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity 
  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services  
  • Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building 

A number of the Targets involve issues that overlap with the mission and goals of Reef Check. Three in particular are of interest.  

Under Goal B, Target 6 pertains to sustainable fisheries management — a focus of Reef Check:

“By 2020 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.”

Under Goal B, Target 10 specifically singles out coral reefs:

“By 2015, the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimized, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.”  

Under Goal C, Target 11 is focused on protected area networks – another priority for Reef Check:

“By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.” 

In February, Reef Check was requested by Dr. Clive Wilkinson of GCRMN to attend a Workshop of 50 ecosystem specialists to design monitoring plans that could allow countries to track compliance with CBD Targets. This was an opportunity to suggest a number of monitoring programs including our own Reef Check tropical and temperate protocols to help monitor changes in reef ecosystems. What was surprising is how few ecosystems have any historical data on a global or even regional scale. Because Reef Check began in 1997, we have one of the only long term global databases available for any ecosystem, hence changes can be tracked and compared with the previous condition of reefs. Hopefully, by including Reef Check in the CBD monitoring program, this will also encourage more national governments to include Reef Check in their coral reef monitoring and management plans. For more information on CBD and Targets, please see:

Reef Base April 2011 Newsletter

1. The Coral Reef MPAs of East Asia and Micronesia website
The Coral Reef MPAs of East Asia and Micronesia The “Coral Reef MPAs of East Asia and Micronesia” is a collaboration project between the Japan Wildlife Research Center (JWRC) and The WorldFish Center (ReefBase Project), funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MoE). The initial dataset was provided by the UNEP-WCMC through the MPA Global database project (currently merged into the World Database on Protected Areas) and the updated data were provided by various country partners in East Asia and Micronesia regions. This database was first developed in 2005-2007 as part of the Japan-Palau ICRI secretariat Plan of Action for 2005 -2007 which updated the MPA Global database with 313 new coral reef MPAs data and linked with the spatial and other data on ReefBase. The database was subsequently upgraded on ReefBase during 2008-2010. This 2nd phase of the project aimed to strengthen the usability of the database for MPA planning and management by further updating the MPA data, improving the GIS (Geographic Information System), adding analytical functions, and providing an online/offline updating system, so that the countries could have their own virtual MPA database on their website. 950 MPAs have been added since the database was first launched in 2007. Other features on this websites include publication and case studies related to MPAs in the regions. For more detail on the website please click on the link:
2. Coral Reef Habitat Map was released
Coral Reef Habitat Map The “Coral Reef Habitat Map” project is an initiative of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan in collaboration with the ReefBase project. The map was developed to provide a useful tool to conserve and manage coral reefs and related ecosystems in the Asian and Oceanian regions (i.e., North East Asia, South East Asia, Micronesia and Melanesia). This satellite based GIS map shows the distribution of coral reefs and related ecosystems in these regions. The latest distribution of live corals, seaweed/seagrass and other benthic features have been analyzed using the satellite images and are now available to the general public via the Internet. The data can be viewed at the Coral Reef Habitat Map website ( and will also be available on ReefBase soon.
3. Atoll Research Bulletin updated at ReefBase Publication Database
Atoll Research Bulletin The latest issue and previous issues of the Atoll Research Bulletin is available for download at ReefBase Publication database. The journals cover from issue 1 to 588 since year 1951 to 2010. To view all the Atoll Research Bulletin journals in the Reefbase database please click on the link All the publications also can be downloaded at Atoll Research Bulletin website;

The Atoll Research Bulletin is issued by the Smithsonian Institution to provide an outlet for information on the biota of tropical islands and reefs and on the environment that supports the biota. The Bulletin is supported by the National Museum of Natural History; electronic publication is facilitated by Smithsonian Institution Libraries. The Bulletin was founded in 1951 and the first 117 numbers were issued by the Pacific Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, with financial support from the Office of Naval Research. Its pages were devoted largely to reports resulting from the Pacific Science Board’s Coral Atoll Program.

4. Coral Triangle Atlas updated
Coral Triangle Atlas New datasets of Indonesia for the CT Atlas have been contributed by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). This spatial data cover a range of categories (particularly biological data, habitat, socioeconomic) and are available to view and download. Please click the following link to have a look through our updated database
5. Coral bleaching update
  • Western Indian Ocean Coral Bleaching Alerts

Full report alert for 31st March 2011 is available for download. Please click here to download the report. Further information on the bleaching alert at Western Indian Ocean region and to view previous bleaching reports, can be accessed at CORDIO WIO website;

ReefBase Publication Database
1. Wetlands Australia: National Wetland Update 2011
  • Australia’s wetlands number in the many thousands. There are 64 Ramsar listed wetlands (covering around 8.1 million hectares) and over 900 nationally important wetlands in Australia. These wetlands include coastal estuaries, mudflats and salt marshes, coral reefs, floodplain lakes and billabongs, swamps and marshes, and alpine bogs and peatlands. Wetlands are extremely rich in biodiversity with many plants and animals being completely dependent on these ecosystems. They also provide critical habitat for threatened species such as the northern corroborree frog and Murray cod. Wetlands are important sites for migratory species and many support large numbers of waterbirds (more than 20 000), using wetland habitats for critical stages of their life-cycle, such as feeding and roosting. This edition of Wetlands Australia aligns with the theme for World Wetlands Day 2011 “wetlands and forests – forests for water and wetlands”. This year is extra special as it is the fortieth anniversary of the Ramsar Convention. It also coincides with the United Nations designation of 2011 as the International Year of Forests.
Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. 2011. Wetlands Australia: National Wetlands Update, Issue No. 19. 56 pp.

2. Vulnerability of Fiji’s mangroves and associated coral reefs to climate change. A review
  • This report was commissioned by the WWF to review and compile existing studies and other literature on the state of knowledge of the vulnerability of Fijian mangroves and adjacent coral reefs to climate change. Information is reviewed on strategies or methodologies to adapt or increase the resilience and resistance of the region to impacts of climate change. The review has found that there is little work to date on methodologies and projects that have designed an adaptation strategy to climate change effects for mangroves or coral reef systems. The majority of work to date has been focused on assessment of impacts.
Ellison, J. 2010. Vulnerability of Fiji’s mangroves and associated coral reefs to climate change. A Review. Suva, Fiji, WWF South Pacific Office.

3. Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program: Intertidal Seagrass
  • Overall there are indications that seagrass meadows along the GBR are in state of decline. The indicators of this decline are; 67% of sites with reduced seagrass abundance (below the seagrass guidelines), 50% sites exhibiting shrinking meadow area, many sites have limited or are not producing seeds that would enable rapid recovery, indications of light limitations at 63 % of sites, nutrient enrichment at 33% sites and 90% of sites with either high or elevated nitrogen. There is also evidence of long term increases of seagrass nutrient content (in tissues) in coastal and reef seagrasses particularly in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions. This document highlight the key component of Reef Rescue team were to understand the status and trends of GBR intertidal seagrass, identify response of seagrass to environmental driver of change and integrated reporting on GBR seagrass status including production of seagrass report cards metrics.
McKenzie L. J, R. K. F. Unsworth and M. Waycott. 2010. Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program: Intertidal Seagrass, Annual Report for the sampling period 1st September 2009 – 31st May 2010. Fisheries Queensland, Cairns. 136pp.

4. Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program. Final Report of AIMS Activities – Inshore coral reef monitoring 2009/10
  • This report is part of the coral reef monitoring component of the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program (MMP) undertaken in 2009/10. This report documented the completion of the fifth inshore coral reef survey under MMP allows for updated assessments of the overall status of the inshore coral reef communities monitored over the four year period in GBR. The coral monitoring program continued to survey the cover of benthic organisms, the numbers of genera, the number of juvenile-sized coral colonies and sediment quality at 23 inshore reef locations in four NRM regions, the Wet Tropics, Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday and Fitzroy regions. Coral recruitment monitoring also continued at three core sites in each of the four NRM regions.
Thompson, A., J. Davidson, B. Schaffelke, H. Sweatman. 2010. Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program. Final Report of AIMS Activities – Inshore coral reef monitoring 2009/10. Report for Reef and Rainforest Research Centre. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville. 104 pp.

5. Coastal Capital: Dominican Republic. Case studies on the economic value of coastal ecosystems in the Dominican Republic
  • Coastal and marine ecosystems provide many valuable services to the people and economy of the Dominican Republic. At first glance, these benefits can be difficult to see. Reefs and mangroves help to build beaches and slow erosion, draw local and international tourists to the coast, and provide habitat for valuable recreational commercial fish. Unfortunately, these services are often overlooked in key development and policy decisions. As a result, coastal ecosystems are threatened by unsustainable coastal development, pollution, overfishing, and other local and global pressures. One of the key barriers to better decision-making is lack of information and understanding of the scope and value of benefits provided by these ecosystems. Little work has been done on this topic in the Dominican Republic, and data gaps make it difficult to assess the economic impact of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs at the national level. This document presented a small sample of the benefits that coastal ecosystems provide to the Dominican Republic. These ecosystems (a) protect white sand beaches in vital tourism areas; (b) provide habitat for commercial fisheries; (c) provide the engine for potential tourism growth in a small marine protected area; and (d) generate local tourism dollars in the southwestern part of the country. The studies highlight the contribution of coastal ecosystems to the economy and the need for greater investment in protecting coastal and marine ecosystems, including better management of marine fisheries, protection of existing reserves, and enforcement of coastal development guidelines.
Wielgus, J., E. Cooper, R. Torres and L. Burke. 2010. Coastal Capital: Dominican Republic. Case studies on the economic value of coastal ecosystems in the Dominican Republic. Working Paper. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute

Online GIS
1. March 2011 NOAA Coral Reef Watch’s Satellite Monitoring Products
March 2011 NOAA Coral Reef Watch's Map This map shows the global observations of coral bleaching occurrences combined with NOAA Coral Reef Watch’s satellite monitoring products including Sea Surface Temperature, Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly, Bleaching HotSpot and Degree Heating Weeks. These datasets are added into ReefBase Online GIS each month.
To view the latest January 2011 maps, click here.


Earth Month photo contest: Island Fest sunset pics from 2011   Leave a comment

Earth Month photo contest: (subject) Island Fest sunset pics from 2011.

Submit your pics today…

You could win 2 Task Force T-shirts and a Dive in the Florida Keys, Submit your pics today on Facebook Ocean Rehab.

Here are my entries:

Marker 88.1 Florida Keys Sunset; William's pic 01

Marker 88.1 Florida Keys Sunset; William's pic 01

Marker 88.1 Florida Keys Sunset; William's pic 2

Marker 88.1 Florida Keys Sunset; William's pic 2

Marker 88.1 Florida Keys Sunset; William's pic 3

Marker 88.1 Florida Keys Sunset; William's pic 3

How did I do??? actually Alice of Ocean Rehab shot these pics.