It’s all about the data


The democratisation of coral reef monitoring data is one key to their survival. This article in the latest issue of ECO Magazine highlights the WIO GCRMN coral reef network’s efforts to share and report on coral data, as an essential part of motivating action to save coral reefs. 

In partnership with the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2021), ECO Magazine published its July/August 2020 special issue on Coral Reefs.

The 2020 Coral Reef special issue will serve as a platform for the global ocean community to provide project updates, report on new research findings, highlight key issues in conservation and management, and showcase advancements in coral restoration and monitoring technologies. With the support of partners and sponsors, it aims to help these efforts by increasing awareness of recent activities surrounding coral reefs on an international scale.

CORDIO’s article discusses how collaborative data aggregation initiatives are helping to support critical research to inform management of coral reefs at local to global scales.

The Western Indian Ocean is a great example of a region where local to regional and even global data-uptake has transformed over the last 5 years, facilitated by regional cooperation frameworks such as the Indian Ocean Commission and Nairobi Convention Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF). This has supported the implementation of the first quantitative assessment of data on coral reef health by the regional monitoring networks in the WIO, producing a regional coral reef status report in 2017, and an assessment to determine the impact of the third global coral bleaching event on the WIO in 2016.

Contents of the special issue come from all over the world:

This led to the collation of the first regional dataset of the CRTF monitoring network, including benthic and fish data from researchers, NGOs, national research institutes, universities, and coral reef management agencies. A third update of the dataset was done in 2019, contributing to two processes – the first regional coral reef Red List of Ecosystems, and the Global GCRMN coral reef status and trends report 2020 – the first global report since 2008. This collaborative effort has gathered data from over 1000 monitoring sites across the region to date.