Wcs-fiji Marine Biological Monitoring Handbook

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WCS-Fiji Marine Biological Monitoring Handbook



Version 3.1

January 2010

The development of this handbook was supported by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (2007-31847) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (540.01).

© 2010 Wildlife Conservation Society

This document to be cited as:

WCS (2010) WCS-Fiji marine biological handbook. Version 3.1. Wildlife Conservation Society-Fiji. Suva, Fiji, 34 pp.

Cover photo © Lill Haugen 2009

Table of Contents

Table of Contents 4

Introduction 5

Coral Reef Fish Monitoring 5

Fish survey methods 5

Data cleaning and biomass calculation 7

Coral Reef Benthic Habitat Monitoring 7

Monitoring for Reef Resilience 8

Handbook Format 9

Scientific Questions 10

Protocol 10

Point Intercept Transects for Benthic Cover 12

Scientific Questions 12

Protocol 12

Scientific Questions 15

Protocol 15

Coral Population Structure 17

Scientific Questions 17

Protocol 17

Coral Recruitment and Algal Cover 19

Scientific Questions 19

Protocol 19

Reef Profile and Site Description 20

Scientific Questions 20

Protocol 20

References 21

Appendix 2. Power analysis to assess cost-effectiveness of experimental design 27

Appendix 3. Datasheets 29

Appendix 4. Fiji Fish List for Targeted Families 31

Appendix 5. Coral Genera Found in Fiji 43

Appendix 6. General Diving and Boating Protocol 44

A. Dive Planning 44

B. Emergency Planning 44

C. First aid 44

D. Dive Officer 44

E. Dive Gear Maintenance 45

F. Boat Skipper 45

G. Boat Equipment (onboard at all times) 45

H. Boating Procedures 46

I. Boat Maintenance 46

Appendix 7. Sample Emergency Plan 47

Appendix 8. Protocol for Dive Injuries 48

Appendix 9. Accident Report Form 54


This handbook describes the marine biological monitoring techniques that the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Fiji Country Program is currently using to monitor reef resources inside traditional Fijian fishing grounds (qoliqoli) where networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) have been established. The protocols have built on existing methodologies and have evolved over time to meet the needs of the WCS-Fiji program. In this section, we describe the rationale behind the monitoring approaches and how they have been optimized to fit our staffing capability and cost constraints. As the goals of the Fijian MPA networks surveyed are primarily to increase stock of food fish, we concentrate on methods for surveying relevant coral reef fish communities. We then describe several methods to collect benthic data which we predominantly use to exclude differences in reef fish communities specifically related to habitat. These data also provide valuable baseline information which could be used to monitor recovery in the event of large-scale disturbance to the reef systems. Lastly, we describe new monitoring protocols based on resilience assessments designed by IUCN and partners to identify reef areas likely to resist and/or recovery from climate-based disturbance (Obura & Grimsditch 2009).

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