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Assessment and Long Term Monitoring

In 1997-1998, leading coral reef researchers, managers and educators in Hawai‘i established the Hawai‘i Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program to:

  1. develop a state-wide network consisting of over 30 long-term coral reef monitoring sites,

  2. describe the spatial and temporal variation in Hawaiian coral reef communities in relation to natural and anthropogenic forcing functions, and

  3. establish a database of relevant references and the data collected.

Selection of the long term monitoring sites required careful consideration and the input of both research scientists and resource managers as:

  1. sites would be monitored for many more decades,

  2. sites must be a representative cross section of Hawaiian coral reefs that will allow future analysis of the impact of major natural and anthropomorphic environmental factors throughout the State of Hawai‘i.

Natural processes (such as wave energy) are responsible for shaping and establishing the basic structure of pristine Hawaiian coral reef communities. These pristine conditions for a given environment have been termed "reference conditions".  Anthropogenic (caused by human activities) factors, alter the pristine situation and are becoming more important as the population of the state increases.  The impact of humans are a primary concern to those responsible for managing of our coral reef resources. Identifying these processes at different locations throughout the state and monitoring them allows scientists and managers to account for the differences observed across the Hawaiian Islands and explain the changes that occur over time.

The data gathered by the Hawaii Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program  over the last 7-years from 32 sites across the Main Hawaiian Islands has been utilized by county, state and federal managers in their efforts to manage the resources of Hawaii.


Last Update: 05/08/2008

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