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Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies

CRES Research has been involved in several policy decisions:

  • Basis for a moratorium on clearing and grading of mangroves in Airai Bay, Palau and proposed national legislation before the Palau National Congress
  • Data support and educational outreach for watershed protection in Umatac Bay, Guam
  • Data and educational support for establishment of watershed and marine protected areas in the Enipein area, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Scientific basis for the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force resolution on coral spawning
  • Policy development and support for the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures
  • Review of U.S. federal laws and policies affecting coral reefs
  • Testimony and review for the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
  • Support for coral reef damage cases and assessments in Hawaii and Micronesia
  • Development of a watershed protection training manual for Guam
  • Design and support for a 9 month Micronesian regional educational campaign
  • Policy support for the All Islands Committee of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force
  • Technical support for the reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000
  • Technical support and input on coral reef issues and policies for the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures
  • CRES funded study highlighted in editorial of the journal BioScience

CRES research has also been involved with capacity development:

  • Two regional capacity development grants from NOAA (EPP) and NSF (ATE)
  • Training and support of Pacific Islanders in coral reef science and policy development

CRES researchers have created important tools and models:

  • Development and refining of the HOME (hydrology, oceanography, meteorology and ecology) model.
  • Development of a new model for sedimentation impacts on coral reef community structure and function that incorporates wind, algal cover and re-suspension impacts.
  • Development, application and interpretation of biomarkers of exposure for determining specific causes of coral reef decline.

CRES research has received numerous awards, most notably, the Pacific Islanders:

  • Awards for management and/or the advancement of science by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force: Yimnang Golbuu, Steven Victor, Willy Kostka, Palau Conservation Society, Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Dr. Mike Hamnett, Gerry Davis, Dr. Mark Tupper, Dr. Robert Richmond.
  • Pew Fellowships in Marine Conservation: Willy Kostka and Dr. Robert Richmond (Noah Idechong was a prior recipient and a prior recipient of the Goldman Prize for Environmental Achievement).
  • Yimnang Golbuu was accepted into a Ph.D. program at Southern Cross University in Australia, and his work on this project became part of the basis for his dissertation. He also received some of his research support from this grant. He will be Palau’s first Ph.D. in the marine sciences.

Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems

NOAA's Coral Reef Institutes

Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative accomplishments include:

  • Assessing the economic and non-economic value of Hawaii’s coral reefs
  • Identifying the status of fish populations, the threat of invasive algal species and their relationship to poor water quality and disturbed coral communities
  • Identifying the impact of land-based sources of pollution on coastal ecosystems
  • Maintaining the health of exploited fish stocks in protected areas
  • Describing the population dynamics of keystone coral reef species

National Coral Reef Institute accomplishments include:

  • The Southeast Coral Reef Evaluation and Monitoring Project (SECREMP)
  • Population Dynamics of the threatened species, staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), in southeast Florida
  • Coral, soft coral, and sponge restoration and recovery following reef injury
    Coral spawning prediction
  • Mapping of coral reef ecosystems

Caribbean Coral Reef Institute accomplishments include:

  • Monitoring coral and reef fish communities
  • Locating and monitoring vulnerable fish spawning aggregations
  • Developing sociological and biological criteria for planning and establishing MPAs
  • Bilingual blogs on Caribbean MPAs and Fish Spawning Aggregations
  • GIS-based modeling of land disturbance and sedimentary runoff