You are here

Development of rapid, cost effective coral survey techniques: Tools for management and conservation planning

TitleDevelopment of rapid, cost effective coral survey techniques: Tools for management and conservation planning
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAlquezzar, R, Boyd, W
JournalJ. Coastal Conser.J. Coastal Conser.J. Coast. Conserv.
Keywordscoastal management, conservatin, coral reef classification, field validation, GIS and oceanography, image analysis, rapid assessment, benthic habitat mapping, Great Barrier Reef

Coral reefs are highly dynamic and productive
marine ecosystems, providing habitat and refuge for an
enormous number of species including fish, invertebrates
and algae. With increased anthropogenic pressures and
global climate change, many coral reefs are rapidly
declining. Currently, there is limited knowledge on condition
and community assemblage composition of shallow
fringing coral reefs along the south-eastern coast of
Queensland, Australia. With increased demand to determine
existence of coastal fringing reefs by National Regional
Management groups, a rapid cost effective method to
determine reef composition and condition was required.
The aim of this study was to determine the benthic structure
and extent of two small coastal fringing reefs (Hummock
Hill Reef and Stringers Reef) along the Southern Great
Barrier Reef. Reef substrate assessments were carried out
using a rapid assessment technique and a Point Intercept
Method (PIM). The data were analysed and classified using
a Geographic Information System (GIS). Percent substrate
cover was calculated using a visual basic image analysis
program. The Point intercept method showed higher
accuracy over the rapid assessment technique (up to 15–
40% difference) and was thus deemed a more suitable
classification tool for reefs with high structural complexity
and heterogeneity. This study focused on piloting a rapid,
cost effective Point Intercept Technique using random point
count methodology to document coral benthic habitat and
extent over a commonly used rapid assessment method as a
tool for reef coastal management and conservation. The two techniques were compared and substrate classification
success, limitations and errors were discussed.

Short TitleJournal of Coastal ConservationJournal of Coastal Conservation: Planning and Management
Alternate JournalJournal of Coastal Conservation: Planning and Management