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What is CRAMP?

CRAMP is a research program designed to identify the controlling factors, both natural and anthropogenic, contributing to the stability, decline, or recovery of Hawaiian reefs. CRAMP has developed a standard coral reef assessment and monitoring methodology in achieving its goals. CRAMP is an integrated state-wide program with a common data base and rapid information dissemination system that provides the means for managers and researchers to detect and respond appropriately to environmental threats on Hawaiian reefs.

CRAMP is administered under the University of Hawai‘i in collaboration with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and includes scientists and managers from the Bishop Museum, and Oceanic Institute. CRAMP is designed to be highly responsive to the needs of managers and provide the information to the public and managers needed for rapid and appropriate management decisions and policies.

The Hawai‘i Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP) was developed during 1997-98 by leading coral reef researchers, managers and educators in Hawai‘i. The CRAMP experimental design enables us to detect changes on coral reefs and increase our understanding of the controlling factors (natural and anthropogenic) influencing reef stability, decline and recovery. The design was further refined during the international "Hawai‘i Coral Reef Monitoring Workshop" organized by the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) in conjunction with the East-West Center and held in Honolulu during June 9-12, 1998 (Maragos and Grober-Dunsmore, 1999).

Why was CRAMP created?

Hawai‘i‘s valuable reefs are increasingly under environmental pressures. One of the greatest obstacles to environmental managers in Hawai‘i had been lack of information on mechanisms responsible for reef decline and lack of an integrated coral reef research and monitoring program. Prior to the initiation of CRAMP, scientific studies and surveys in Hawai‘i were conducted piecemeal with little consistency in methodology or large-scale experimental design. A second major problem facing researchers and managers in Hawai‘i was geographic in nature. The Hawaiian Archipelago contains vast reef resources (approximately 132 islands, reefs and shoals) strewn along its length of 1500 miles. The third major problem had been the lack of a funding base for such large-scale monitoring and research effort.

CRAMP has been able to overcome the geographic problem through collaborative effort and modern communication technology. UH has excellent coral reef research groups presently operating at UH Mānoa (O‘ahu), Maui Community College, and at UH Hilo. The UH groups share a common computer network, administrative, and fiscal system. In recent years, DAR has strengthened its reef program. The scientists and managers of DAR have worked collaboratively with the UH groups on all of the main Hawaiian Islands to overcome the previous problems with overall experimental design and methodology. The CRAMP UH/DAR scientists receive excellent assistance in their work from a variety of non-government organizations, such as the Sierra Club and Save our Seas, other State agencies such as, the Coastal Zone Management Office and the Department of Health, and Federal agencies such as, the U.S. Geological Survey, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service. Data dissemination and archiving is being developed in conjunction with the National Oceanographic Data Center.

The initial efforts to develop a state-wide program was frustrated by a lack of available funding. However, growing awareness of the value of coral reefs and the perceived decline in global reef health led to development of the Coral Reef Initiative (CRI) at the national, international and local level. At the federal level, the CRI led to legislation aimed at securing funds for reef monitoring, and thereby directly promoted development of a comprehensive monitoring program for Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring (CRAMP) was already in early stages of development during 1997-98 by leading coral reef researchers and managers in Hawai‘i. The design was further refined during the international "Hawai‘i Coral Reef Monitoring Workshop" organized by the DAR in conjunction with the East-West Center and held in Honolulu during June 9-11, 1998 (Maragos and Grober-Dunsmore, 1999). The CRAMP program was funded and initiated in October 1998 with funding supplied by NOAA.

What is organizational structure of CRAMP ?

Management of our reefs is largely the responsibility of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR). Research directed at state need is largely the responsibility of the University of Hawai‘i (UH). UH and DAR are lead agencies in the CRAMP program and have been joined by numerous other organizations.

Geographic obstacles to a statewide program have been overcome by expansion of University of Hawai‘i (UH) marine research capacity on the main Hawaiian Islands and by increased collaboration between UH, DAR and other agencies throughout the state. The project was initiated in October 1998 when CRAMP received funding from the National Ocean Service through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via the Hawai‘i Coral Reef Initiative (HCRI) Program. This source of funding has continued into the second year of CRAMP and will be continued in year 3 (Oct 00 to Nov 01). Additional funding was provided by the USGS for collaborative studies of sediment impact on the island of Moloka‘i.

Geographic Information Systems and Database

The revolution in computer/communication technology now allows us to collect, process, and summarize data in a form that is readily available for use by the research and management community. An inter-agency program spearheaded by the Honolulu FWS (Kevin Foster and Rod Low) is developing a new Marine Environmental Geographic Information System (MEGIS). Perpetuity of information and easy access will be insured through redundant archiving of information in systems with expected longevity. CRAMP is presently working with the National Oceanographic Data Center (Patrick Caldwell, Hawai‘i/Pacific Liaison). The CRAMP bibliographic database is continually being expanded and updated through the efforts of the CRAMP team and David Coleman of the UH Hamilton Library. We have been in the process of archiving and evaluating historical data sets made available by investigators participating in this project. Other data sets are being retrieved from the State of Hawai‘i Information Service Centralized Data Base, hard copies of old Hawai‘i Coastal Zone Data Base, various Environmental Impact Statements (summarized in UH Environmental Center Database), theses, technical reports, final reports, etc. A major advantage is that we are gradually accumulate all existing relevant information in a single location that is easily accessed by individual investigators, resource managers and educators.


Last Update: 04/21/2008

By: Lea Hollingsworth

Hawai‘i Coral Reef Assessment & Monitoring Program

Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology

P.O. Box 1346

Kāne‘ohe, HI 96744

808-236-7440 phone

808-236-7443 fax