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656informal review tenting sejarah, tren dan kontroversi Reef Check oleh Greg Hodgson

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  • Jensi Sartin
    Oct 16, 2013



      Di bawah ini saya copy-kan dari coral mailing list, uraian Greg Hodgson Executive Director RC Internasional menjawab berbagai pertanyaan tentang metode Reef Check. Dalam bahasa Inggris(bisa digoogle translate) tapi sangat bermanfaat untuk dibaca. Semoga juga menjawab pertanyaan teman-teman.





      Gosh, I wish Reef Check were a "juggernaut"  maybe we would have a better dataset without so many temporal and spatial holes that would help everyone better understand what is really happening out there. We certainly need more help with that. But thanks! We are very proud that the Reef Check protocol and training process through "immersion learning" whether with fishermen or government officials -- are accepted as a community-based monitoring program in many countries. But does that mean that RC is is ONLY useful for community-based monitoring? Read on..


      Reef Check (RC) is the name of our organization and also the name of just one of our many monitoring protocols. Our organization is involved in dozens of different types of activities each year around the world, all with the aim of marine conservation. One of our core programs is to use training with the RC monitoring protocol as part of a process of community organizing. Luckily the drafter of the original protocol is still alive (me) so can illuminate some of the misunderstandings that come up from time to time, as some may not be aware of the published origins, intent, technical protocol, training manual, QA protocol, and possible applications of the Reef Check coral reef monitoring protocol. All of the answers to these questions have been published in peer-reviewed journals and technical reports such as the

      RC Instruction Manual over the years and are in the publications section of the ReefCheck.org website http://reefcheck.org/about_RC_Reef/Publications.php.  I thank John B & John M for addressing some of these already from their experienced perspectives and I list some pubs below.


      1. Origins of Reef Check: research or community education?

      Reef Check is a monitoring protocol drafted at the behest of geologist Bob Ginsburg following the 1993 Colloquium in Miami where a couple hundred coral reef scientists realized we couldn?t answer the question Bob originally posed, "What is the health of the world's reefs?" It could not be answered because no one had set up a globally standard monitoring program that people could buy into. I drafted the original protocol so that it would be carried out by scientists only, and using the newly available internet, it was publicly and privately peer-reviewed by most of the top coral reef scientists in the world involved in monitoring, who gave very helpful advice. But by then a group of us led by Bob had come up with the idea to implement the first International Year of the Reef. Sue Wells suggested that we redesign the RC protocol so that it could be accessible to non-scientists with some training.  Therefore, following the lead of soft-bottom ecologists who got tired of counting and identifying worms, I applied the concept of an "indicator species" to the protocol. The specific criteria for why we choose each indicator organism or non-living indicator are listed in several publications and the training manual but include things like ease of identification, information content, global or regional distribution. This

      was peer-reviewed again by the top folks doing monitoring for their bread and butter in the world and again adjusted. The first global survey of coral reefs became one of the hundreds of activities of IYOR, which eventually occurred in 1997. So 350 reefs in 31 countries were monitored for free and the published results and PR were the first scientific evidence on a global scale that there was a global coral reef crisis due largely to overfishing, a claim that was met with disbelief in some quarters in 1997 but subsequently confirmed by many researchers. So the protocol was designed to both answer a RESEARCH question regarding reef health and to EDUCATE non-scientists about coral reefs. But is RC scientific? Rigorous? Read on.


      Hodgson, G. (2001). Reef Check: The First Step in Community-Based Management. Bulletin of Marine Science 69(2): 861-868.

      Hodgson, G. (1999). A Global Assessment of Human Effects on Coral Reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 38/5: 345-355.

      Hodgson, G. and Liebeler J. (2002). The Global Coral Reef Crisis: Trends and Solutions.




      2. What is a monitoring protocol? 

      A monitoring protocol is simply a tool that can be applied to answer scientific questions and just as a hammer is good for pounding nails but could also be helpful for breaking open a walnut but not very good at opening a beer bottle, each protocol has its advantages and disadvantages as John pointed out. There are many variables in any protocol that will affect its usefulness such as e.g. transect or quadrat, length of transect, size of quadrat, and then the application of the method, how many transects and what is their dispersion with respect to the area to be studied, Sampling design, sample size, statistical power and bias

      issues apply to every sampling protocol not just Reef Check. The point is that the number of replicates, guidance regarding how to locate sample sites and other variables can be adjusted to suit the question and additional parameters such as certain species of interest can also be added. If RC doesn't seem to fit well with a specific question then choose another method or better yet add a layer.


      3. Is the Reef Check protocol "scientific"  and "rigorous.?

      " Any method that can reliably and repeatedly answer a question correctly is "scientific and rigorous," regardless of whether data collectors are 4th graders or PhDs. What confuses people seems to be the difference between "detail" and "rigor." For example, because the RC protocol uses both family level and species level identifications. some are tempted to say that the method is not rigorous on this basis alone, which is wrong. it is simply targeting family level. As long as we are asking questions about family level changes then the protocol is scientific and rigorous at that level if it is applied properly with sufficient replication. But it is less detailed obviously. To be rigorous, the method also needs to be designed to match the level of training of the data collector that matches the level of detail asked in the question of interest. Whether this level of detail is useful or not depends on the question. Don?t forget that until a few years ago the entire US weather reporting system was dependent on a network of 1000s of volunteers who manned rain gauges in their back yard. Was this rigorous "enough" to answer the question about rainfall levels.


      Hodgson, G. (1998). What is the Purpose of Monitoring Coral Reefs in Hawaii? Proceedings of the Hawaii Coral Reef Monitoring Workshop - A tool for management. June 9-11, 1998. East-West Center, Honolulu, HI, USA.


      For a perspective on scientific rigor see:




      4. Who actually collects Reef Check data? 

      Unfortunately, we have failed at the original goal of targeting recreational scuba divers for the tropical program.  We underestimated how firmly vacationers cling to the desire to drink Mai Tai's and get massages on the beach rather than spend a week in the classroom learning marine bio and taking difficult tests and counting sea urchins for Reef Check. The reality is that most of our tropical data is collected by professional marine biologists, government or NGO staff, or marine biologists in training. The last time we actually checked it was something like 60% have a PhD or Masters in marine bio. This is a higher level than some other long-term monitoring programs by research institutions and individual academic researchers who often hire young students supervised by experienced ones. But since some of our data is collected by trained and certified volunteers, there are several publications comparing data quality between them and trained scientists. See citations within those papers for many others.


      Gillett G, Pondella D, Freiwald J, Schiff K, Caselle J, Shuman C, Weisberg S. (2011) Comparing volunteer and professionally collected monitoring data from the rocky subtidal reefs of Southern California, USA. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: 0167-6369: DOI: 10.1007/s10661-011-2185-5


      Uychiaoco, A.J., H.O. Arceo, S.J. Green, M.T. De la Cruz, P.A. Gaite and P.M. Alio.(2005). Monitoring and evaluation of reef protected areas by local fishers in the Philippines:tightening the adaptive management cycle. Biodiversity and Conservation 14: 2775-2794.


      5 .Are the data produced by the RC protocol useful for an MPA or fisheries manager or a country level manager?  

      Countries like Jamaica, the Bahamas, HK China, Brazil, Cuba  where they have many extremely well-trained PhD level marine biologists would not choose Reef Check to be part of their official monitoring programs unless it was providing useful information. MPA managers would not continue to use RC monitoring year after year. The advantage of RC is that it is ALSO useful to engage the public in reef monitoring so that they can see for themselves what is going on and the data gain credibility and community support so the benefits are on multiple levels education, good data for science and promotion of conservation programs.  In fact it is often the scientists who enjoy the opportunity to engage with the public.


      6. Is the RC protocol all we need to track reef health or answer my pet fisheries question? 

      Of course not! The RC protocol is useful for gaining the quickest answer with the minimum cost about a suite of indicators which together represent one definition of reef health. The protocol and indicators have been peer-reviewed now four times (again in 1998 and again in 2004) by numerous coral reef monitoring specialists. Some changes were made each time. We always recommend that where funding is available, then RC can be part of a larger, multi-level (e.g. GCRMN) and more detailed monitoring program  ? and we encourage local teams to add organisms of local interest/importance as long as it does not impede the ultimate training goal. In fact, Reef Check (the organization) has developed, published  and implemented many different protocols for different applications with different levels of detail. For example the RC California protocol for rocky reef ecosystems and MACTRAQ for fish stock assessment are species based and include sizing of many fish.


      7. $$ funding vs detail? 

      California is one of the wealthiest places on the planet. And yet ? when it came time for the State to fund monitoring of the rocky-reef ecosystems of the newly established statewide MPA network ?  Reef Check California program was the only monitoring program that survived on a statewide basis. Sadly, excellent high end programs were let go. The point is that whether a wealthy country or a poor one, none want to pay for 'boring' regular reef monitoring, therefore the relatively low cost of Reef Check is an advantage. The choice in developing countries is easier, because just paying for gas and a boat is typically a major challenge. Scientists tend to be VERY self-centered and want their favorite organisms to be monitored daily. Monitoring programs are often designed by teams of scientists during well-funded 5-year projects and these "everything-including-the-kitchen-sink" monitoring programs typically collapse when the 5-year funding runs out because the governments don’t want or cannot afford to fund them. So the question often is: would you like to have Reef Check level of data regarding your reefs or none at all? If you are going to have RC level of detail, why not use a protocol that can be compared regionally and globally? Why not help contribute to track national, regional and global reef health at the same time? Why not help us to perform a much-needed public service as global warming eats away at our favorite reefs?


      Specific responses to coral-list comments are addressed below:

      1 -- "we are given the hard sell from Reef Check," ---   I wish we could

      afford a PR person to do a better job of selling. People come to us to help them solve reef monitoring/management problems.

      2 -- "particularly in its effort to legitimise its scientific credential claims" -- The currency of science is peer-reviewed publications  -- ours speak for themselves. The use of the RC protocol in most coral reef countries as a first tier-monitoring program suggests the protocol is simply seen as useful for producing useful data and community organizing to support marine conservation.

      3 -- "with what is and will always be, a simple community awareness raising tool."  The authors of the papers using RC data obviously disagree as would the MPA/fisheries managers who rely on RC data as a first cut to figure out what is happening on their reefs. In addition, those who know about the number of MPAs and other direct conservation activities that RC

      monitoring has stimulated around the world including assisting most recently with getting 95% of Brunei's reefs tossed into no-take MPAs might disagree. The Haitian university students who recently discovered a coral reef with 60% coral cover after 800 km of 5% reefs might disagree as that area will now be added to the list of prospective high priority MPAs for the Minister of Environment to consider. 

      4 -- "My greatest concern is that the Reef Check juggernaut, principally

      because of its well organised format, gets presented to many developing countries as the basic tool for all reef related issues that a country may be concerned about. This results in the collection of data that are entirely useless for the real local issues that they may be faced with."

      -- Thank you, we include in our publications and training materials that RC is a good "first cut" of reef health but will not be a panacea and will need to be combined with other protocols/indicators depending on the questions of interest. That said, RC data are almost ALWAYS useful for reef fisheries questions because the suite of indicators were selected because they are excellent proxies for fishing impacts on both herbivores and predators especially when combined with Nutrient Indicator Algae and living coral. Show me a Pacific Island reef where there is a high abundance of grouper and sweetlips  (RC indicators) but jacks and surgeonfish (not RC indicators) are fished out. And yes, after being fished out over the last 15 years, bumpheads and humpheads are extremely rare now and rarely turn up in a survey -- that?s exactly the point.

      For those of us diving 40 years ago on small pacific islands this was not the case ‘irrespective of ranges’ these animals were common and often in high numbers. In places like Palau where sizeable MPAs have been in place for a few years, we are starting to see these fish come back to the natural abundance levels where they were pre- 1970s. And exactly given the low funding available on a small tropical island should we expect them to invest in a special fish protocol that requires expensive PhDs to do the work at high cost multiple times every year forever. If they are already doing RC, but have personnel with taxonomic skills (fishermen or fisheries officers), why not just add some additional species to their RC surveys? Fishermen can usually better identify fish species than PhDs and they often recognize other important seasonal changes. Add more replicates to increase sample sizes and areas surveyed. Use a layered approach in time and space to achieve the best overall monitoring program. Bob Johannes' paper puts this in perspective.

      The case for data-less marine resource management: examples from tropical nearshore finfisheries. Trends in ecology & evolution. 13(6) 243 ? 246.


      5. The RC protocol is just one of hundreds of protocols ? we have never claimed it was the best ? and we cannot control what others do with it or say about it. If in doubt refer to the original papers and Instruction Manual to clarify these issues. Its a pretty good hammer, but don?t try to use it to open beer bottles.


      Gregor Hodgson, PhD

      Executive Director

      Reef Check Foundation

      PO Box 1057 (mail)

      17575 Pacific Coast Highway (overnight)

      Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 USA

      T: +1 310-230-2371 or 2360


      Skype: gregorh00