Worldwide, coral reefs are being impacted by disturbances. As global temperatures rise, bleaching events and extreme weather events are likely to increase. Through ecological monitoring researchers are able to track changes to better understand how coral reefs are impacted and how they recover from these large disturbances.
Until 2001, there had been no comprehensive coral reef monitoring on disturbance impacts, coral mortality, or recovery time for Palau’s coral reefs at an island scale. This lack of data left many questions unanswered following the 1998 bleaching event. In response to this gap in knowledge, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) established their long-term coral reef monitoring program. Information from the coral reef monitoring programs can be used to tell us the status of Palau’s reefs and track and document changes resulting from large disturbances.