The Coral Identification Capacity Building Program (CICBP) is a David and Lucile Packard Foundation funded program in 2009-2010 with the goal to increase the number of people actively using coral identification skills in community, scientific and resource monitoring.
Reefs are, in large part, built by corals and the status and health of corals is a first order indicator of reef condition. Despite the progress made by scientists in understanding coral taxonomy, the lack of practitioners who can accurately identify corals to an appropriate level remains a major impediment to resource management and conservation of coral reefs worldwide. Without good basic information about the health and status of coral communities it is very difficult to compare and contrast sites or understand trends in reef health.
The aim of the CICBP is to improve the effectiveness of existing coral reef conservation programs by removing barriers to the uptake of coral taxonomy. The Program has developed capacity building Teach Yourself resources based around the Coral Finder with its new visual approach to learning corals that works underwater and on land.
In 2010 the Program has focused on:
1. Proof of concept regarding this new approach to coral identification training
2. Developing the Coral Finder Toolkit and associated resources
3. Testing and evaluating the Toolkit in Fiji for a range of end users.
The main activities of the Program have focused on continuing to develop, test and put into practice a learning pathway and associated resources that guide users to identify corals accurately to genus level regardless of their technical background and expertise. The Program also opens the door to species level identification for motivated participants.
The outcomes of the Program have included:
- Improved quality and reliability of coral identification and monitoring information
- An enlarged pool of people capable of collecting / understanding this information in the region
- Wide access to the Coral Finder Toolkit
- Improved conservation and management outcomes
- Contribution to skills exchange in the Western Pacific
- Increased return on funds invested.
Coral Finder Toolkit
The Coral Identification Capacity Building Program has successfully developed, refined and evaluated the Coral Finder Toolkit, a practical capacity building pathway for coral identification. The Toolkit was refined and evaluated through workshops and a natural resource management partnership with the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Network.
The Toolkit is now widely available via this website. These resources will enable self-learning by motivated individuals beyond this Program into the future.
The coral identification learning pathway we have created is designed to empower a community of users to teach themselves (and others).
Coral Finder Workshops 2010
The 2010 workshop series delivered world class tuition in coral identification to genus-level and provided each participant with a draft copy of the Coral Finder Toolkit. The workshops were led by Russell Kelley, with Lyndon DeVantier and Emre Turak providing expert tuition, and additional support provided by Rachel Pears, Ron Vave, Loraini Sivo, Ed Lovell, Semesi Meo, Bish Bogiva, Kirsty Nash and many others.
The workshops proved to be very popular and attendance was excellent. Over 46 people completed the Suva workshops in February 2010, comprising mainly local conservation practitioners and scientists from the Fiji LMMA Network.
Participants for the Suva workshops included members of Conservation International, Coral Reef Alliance, Fiji National University, Fiji LMMA, Fisheries Department, Institute of Applied Sciences/University of the South Pacific (USP), IUCN, Mamanuca Environment Society, Navakavu LMMA, Peace Corps, Reef Safari, Sea Web, South Sea Cruises/MES, Wildlife Conservation Society, WCS/Kubulau and WWF.
Further workshops were run in Fiji (South Pacific Projects, Leleuvia Island, February 2010) and Australia (Australian Coral Reef Society Annual Meeting 2010) to provide additional feedback on the draft Toolkit and learning pathway.
For further information on workshops:
Organisations interested in holding a Coral Finder Workshop can contact the CICBP at:
enquiry [ at ] coralhub.info