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  • MESOAMERICAN BARRIER REEF SYSTEMS

    PROJECT (MBRS)

    MANUAL OF METHODS FOR THE

    MBRS SYNOPTIC MONITORING PROGRAM

    Selected Methods for Monitoring Physical and Biological

    Parameters for Use in the Mesoamerican Region

    P.C. Almada-Villela, P.F. Sale, G. Gold-Bouchot and B. Kjerfve

    (Revised for Web Publishing)

    April 2003

    Project Coordinating Unit Coastal Resources Multi-Complex Building

    Princess Margaret Drive P.O. Box 93

    Belize City Belize Tel: (501) 223-3895; 223-4561

    Fax: (501) 223-4513 Email: mbrs@btl.net

    Website: http://www.mbrs.org.bz

  • CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF THE

    MESOAMERICAN BARRIER REEF SYSTEMS PROJECT (MBRS)

    Belize – Guatemala – Honduras - Mexico

    MANUAL OF METHODS FOR THE

    MBRS SYNOPTIC MONITORING PROGRAM

    Selected Methods for Monitoring Physical and Biological Parameters for Use in the Mesoamerican Region

    P.C. Almada-Villela, P.F. Sale, G. Gold-Bouchot and B. Kjerfve

    Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Systems Project Project Coordinating Unit

    Coastal Resources Multi-complex Building Princess Margaret Drive

    Belize City, Belize PO Box 93

    April 2003

  • MBRS Technical Document No. 4 Manual of Methods for Synoptic Monitoring

    i

    LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS USED

    ADCP Acoustic Doppler Current Profiling Meter

    AGRRA Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment

    AIMS Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia

    ASK Amigos de Sian Ka’an, Mexico

    BFD Belize Fisheries Department, Belize

    BICA Bay Island Conservation Foundation, Honduras

    CARICOMP Caribbean Coastal and Marine Productivity

    CCAD Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo

    CCO Cuerpos de Conservación Omoa, Honduras

    CEMA Centro de Estudios del Mar y Acuacultura, Guatemala

    CICESE Centro de Investigación Científica y de Estudios Superiores de Ensenada,

    Mexico

    CINVESTAV Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Mexico

    CONANP Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas, Mexico

    CONAP Comisión Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, Guatemala

    CPACC Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change

    CTD Conductivity-Temperature-Depth

    CZMA/I Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, Belize

    Dbh Diameter at breast height

    DiBio Dirección de Biodiversidad, Honduras

    ECOSUR El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Chetumal, Mexico

    FHAC Fundación Hondureña para los Arrecifes Coralinos, Honduras

    FUNDAECO Fundación para el Desarrollo y la Conservación, Guatemala

    GMT Greenwich Mean Time

    GPS Global Positioning System

    GR Green Reef, Belize

    HCMR Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize

    IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency, Monaco

    INWEH International Network for Water, Environment and Health

    JD Julian Date

    MAFC Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Belize

    MARN Ministerio de Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Guatemala

    MBRS Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Systems Project

    MPA Marine Protected Area

  • MBRS Technical Document No. 4 Manual of Methods for Synoptic Monitoring

    ii

    MSL Mean Sea Level

    NCORE National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research, USA

    NGO Non Governmental Organization

    NMS National Meteorological Service, Belize

    NOAA National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, USA

    OBS Optical Back-scatter System

    OCC Oficina de Cambio Climático, SERNA, Honduras

    PA Protected Area

    PCQM Point-Centered Quarter Method for Mangroves

    PCU Project Coordinating Unit

    PROARCA Proyecto Ambiental Regional para Centroamérica

    REEF Reef Environmental Education Foundation, USA

    REIS Regional Environmental Information System

    SEMARNAT Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Mexico

    SERNA Secretaría de Recursos Naturales, Honduras

    SICA Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana

    SM Secretaría de Marina, Mexico

    SMP Synoptic Monitoring Program

    SS Strategic Site

    SWCMR Southwater Caye Marine Reserve, Belize

    TS Transboundary Site

    TWGs Technical Working Groups

    UB University of Belize

    UCR Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

    UCSC University of California at Santa Cruz, USA

    UGAMPC Unidad de Gestión Ambiental Municipalidad de Puerto Cortés, Honduras

    UNIPESCA Unidad de Manejo de la Pesca y Acuicultura, Guatemala

    UNU United Nations University

    UQROO Universidad de Quintana Roo, Mexico

    USAC Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala

    USC University of South Carolina, USA

    USGS United States Geological Survey, USA

    WB World Bank

    WCS Wildlife Conservation Society

    WWF World Wildlife Fund

  • MBRS Technical Document No. 4 Manual of Methods for Synoptic Monitoring

    iii

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS USED i PREFACE v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi 1. INTRODUCTION 1

    1.1 Objectives of the Synoptic Monitoring Program 4 1.2 The Role of the SMP Support Agencies 4 1.3 Development of the SMP Methodology 6 1.4 The SMP Monitoring Categories 6 1.5 Applications to Management 7

    2. THE MBRS SYNOPTIC MONITORING PROGRAM 9

    2.1 Monitoring Parameters 9 2.2 Selection of the SMP Priority Monitoring Locations 12 2.3 Data Collection, Data Processing and Data Entry to the REIS 19 2.4 Coral Reefs and Associated Ecosystems in the MBRS 19

    3. METHODOLOGY FOR CORAL REEF COMMUNITIES 21 CATEGORY 1 MONITORING 27

    3.1 Surveys of Corals, Algae and Other Sessile Organisms 27 3.2 Coral Reef Fish and Diadema Urchins 30

    CATEGORY 2 MONITORING 34

    3.3 Recruitment of Benthic Organisms 34 3.4 Methodology to Assess Sediment Deposition 36

    CATEGORY 3 MONITORING 37

    3.5 Data Processing and Reporting 38 4. METHODOLOGY FOR SEAGRASS COMMUNITIES 45 CATEGORY 1 MONITORING 45

    4.1 Biomass and Community Composition of Seagrass Beds 46 from Core Samples

    CATEGORY 2 MONITORING 49

    4.2 Measurement of Growth of Thalassia testudinum 50 CATEGORY 3 MONITORING 52

    4.3 Leaf Area Index and Leaf Chemical Composition 52

  • MBRS Technical Document No. 4 Manual of Methods for Synoptic Monitoring

    iv

    5. METHODOLOGY FOR MANGROVE COMMUNITIES 57 CATEGORY 1 MONITORING 58

    5.1 Mangrove Habitats Characterization 58 5.2 Recognizing Stress in Mangroves 59 5.3 Community Composition 60 5.4 Interstitial Water 63 5.5 Biomass 64

    CATEGORY 2 MONITORING 64

    CATEGORY 3 MONITORING 65 5.6 Productivity 65

    6. METHODOLOGY FOR POLLUTION AND WATER QUALITY 75

    6.1 Pollution Monitoring 76 6.2 Sampling Strategy 76 6.3 Analyses of Samples 78 6.4 Analytical Methods 79 6.5 Bile Metabolites 81 6.6 Cholinesterase Determination 82 6.7 Data Processing and Analysis of Results 84 6.8 Water Quality 85 6.9 Ammonium 86

    6.10 Phosphates 88 6.11 Nitrites 89 6.12 Nitrates 90 6.13 Total Coliforms 92 6.14 Fecal Coliforms 93

    7. METHODOLOGY FOR PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY / MODELS 96

    7.1 Overview 96 7.2 Sampling Strategy 96 7.3 Core Parameters 97 7.4 Instruments 99 7.5 Instructions on Instrument Use 101 7.6 Data Analysis 108

    7.7 Computer Software 110 8. REFERENCES 111 9. APPENDICES 115

    Appendix 1 Manta Tow Technique 115 Appendix 2 Standardization and Calibration of the Visual 124

    Assessments for Coral Communities Appendix 3 Recommended Practices for Safe and Efficient Monitoring in the 132 MBRS-SMP Appendix 4 Glossary of Terms 141

  • MBRS Technical Document No. 4 Manual of Methods for Synoptic Monitoring

    v

    PREFACE The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) is a complex, large marine ecosystem, rich in biodiversity which extends over the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Approximately 1 million people from multiple social and ethnic backgrounds, benefit from these valuable resources through activities related to fisheries, tourism and coastal development, among others. Such activities continue to increase in the region, placing varying degrees of pressure on the natural ecosystems in the MBRS, which include coral reefs, and its associated ecosystems. Examples of latter comprise seagrass beds, mangroves, coastal lagoons and rivers. Given the importance of the coral reefs and coastal ecosystems, it is necessary to assess their health with the purpose of improving the management of these coastal and marine resources throughout the region. Designing a suitable monitoring program that would accommodate the various degrees of complexity encountered in the MBRS Region, in terms of technical, social and cultural needs, is an enormous challenge, not only because of the physical size of the project area but also because there are currently several worthwhile monitoring efforts at several levels in the region. However, because many of these programs are being conducted using a diversity of methodologies, it has not been ea