Every two years, key resource management agencies are provided with a science-based understanding of the status and trends in coral reef health and conditions across Palau as a basis for effective and adaptive management. Palau’s reefs are subject to both human and natural pressures including: over-fishing, heavy use by divers of varying skill levels, sedimentation, pollution from coastal development, and climate change impacts.
Understanding the changes in coral reef health that these stressors impose, as well as the health status of the overall marine environment is critical to selecting the most appropriate management activities. As a result, PICRC has long dedicated time and effort to monitoring and reporting on the status of and trends in coral reef health and condition across Palau.
Working with management agencies in Palau, PICRC has established a series of 22 permanent monitoring sites around Palau on major reef types. Every two years, between October and December, the Center monitors key parameters on the coral reefs and associated ecosystems of these sites to allow for a time series analysis of changes in the condition and health of the coral reefs of these areas. This includes monitoring of live coral cover, abundance and biomass of key fish and invertebrate species, and temperature monitoring. This long-term monitoring data provides an excellent basis for understanding of the status and trends in the health and condition of the coral reef ecosystems of Palau, including the degree of resilience and recovery of these ecosystems in response to climate change impacts. This long-term and consistent understanding is critical to effective resource management, strategic decision-making, and adaptive management.