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Survey Questions

Introduction

With the permanent survey site established we have been looking at what we hope to achieve. This is a long term project so we don’t expect to be able to answer any questions immediately. By monitoring the site regularly we hope to gain a better understanding of the health of the corals and the inhabitants who call Salang their home. This is by no means an exhaustive list of our methodology and as our capabilities and understanding of the research methods improve, this list of questions will continue to grow.

 

Water quality

Corals and fish thrive when the water conditions are optimal. To see what the water is like we aim to measure the water quality each time we go to Salang. The properties we are capable of measuring are pH, dissolved oxygen content, mineral content, temperature and transparency (visibility/turbidity).

We will record and track how the water quality varies over the season and from year to year. We will record any rubbish observed on the site, and to see how this changes over the season and year to year.

From the data we collect we would like to be able to answer the following questions:

  1. If there is a change in the water quality does this have a measurable effect on the coral growth?
  2. If there is a change in the water quality does this have an effect on the fish and other inhabitants of the reef?
  3. Is there a measurable change in water quality following a period of heavy rains?
  4. Is there a measurable change in water quality following an influx of tourists (divers/snorkelers/visitors to the beach) over a particular holiday weekend?

 

Hard coral growth and health

We know that the coral in the site is growing. Now we aim to build up a better picture of what corals are present and to quantify how quickly they are growing. The coral measurements will be correlated with the water quality data to look for trends.

We will build a database identifying the types of corals (boulder/massive, branching, digitate, foliose, encrusting) growing at Salang.

We will measure how quickly the corals are growing. We will record any damage, due to bleaching or human damage, we observe.

Using this data we would like to be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Can we build up a complete map of the site showing which coral is growing where?
  2. What percentage of the site is covered in coral?
  3. Does the type of coral present and the percentage of coral coverage change from year to year.
  4. How quickly are the branching corals growing?
  5. How quickly are the massive corals growing?
  6. If there is a change in the water quality does this have a measurable effect on the coral growth?
  7. If we record any signs of bleaching, damage or coral disease, does the coral recover and if so how quickly?

 

Fish populations

We have recorded videos of some of the larger inhabitants of the reef. Now we aim to build up a complete record of the fish species present. Once a baseline is established any changes can be monitored over the years.

We will build a database of all fish species observed at Salang. We will monitor any changes in abundance of each species. We will record the appearance or the disappearance of any species.

With this data we would like to answer the following questions:

  1. If water quality changes, does this affect the fish population?
  2. Does the sighting frequency of the species vary over the season or from year to year?
  3. Is there a seasonal variation in the fish species observed at Salang?

 

Other organisms

There is a large wealth of life at Salang in addition to the fish and the corals. Now we aim to build up a complete record of the life forms found of the reef. Once a baseline is established any changes can be monitored over the years.

We will build a database of all organisms observed at Salang. This includes sea cucumbers, sea urchins, crabs, sponges, algae and soft corals. We will monitor any changes in abundance of each species. We will record the appearance or the disappearance of any species.

With this data we would like to answer the following questions:

  1. If water quality changes, does this affect the population of the other organisms?
  2. Does the sighting frequency of these organisms vary over the season or from year to year?

 

One comment to Survey Questions

  • Haiyan  says:

    Man that sounds to me like a 5-10 year project at least. And some statistical work is needed to accurately model the correlation/association among all your independent and dependent variables. (Should I volunteer? :-P)

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