Left: Laying out tiles during reef complexity work at El Nido, Philippines. (Picture: C. Castro) Right: A tile used to measure algal growth (Picture: M. Quibilan)

Valuing coral reef fisheries productivity, in relation to habitat

A food web model for coral reefs that accounts for the influence of coral reef structure and health on community dynamics is being developed by the CCRES project.

The model will assist coastal managers to provide estimates of the value of coral reef fisheries and their potential to change over time at two pilot sites, El Nido, Philippines and Selayar, Indonesia.

The model has been developed for the Caribbean (Rogers et al 2014).  In order to apply the tool to El Nido and Selayar, several activities are required to be undertaken by CCRES:

  • Model development and refinement
  • Data collection and experimentation
  • Model testing and validation
  • Scaling up model predictions for marine spatial planning

This year has seen the team making progress in each of these activities. Dr Alice Rogers and her team commenced fieldwork at El Nido in May, collecting data to develop a preliminary food web model and make initial estimates on carrying capacity. The model is being designed to estimate the productivity and carrying capacity of reef fisheries at El Nido in relation to spatial variability in primary productivity and reef structural complexity and health.

In addition, Dr Rogers wanted to quantify reef metrics that are indicators of reef resilience (algal turf heights and coral recruit abundance), and supplement and continue long-term monitoring in the area conducted by the University of Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) since 1996.

During the 10-day field visit, the team conducted extensive surveys at seven reef locations in Bacuit Bay, ranging from the inner bay to more exposed sites. The locations monitored were:

  • Depeldet
  • Dibuluan
  • Pinasil
  • Tres Marias
  • Twin Rocks
  • Dilumacad (Helicopter Island)
  • East Matinloc (Hidden Beach)

Data collected will be analysed with key results to be made available in coming months.

The team will also be working towards creating an app or video game that is representative of the fisheries productivity model to help to raise awareness and increase understanding of the drivers of fish production and the importance of reef health for fisheries.

For more details, contact:

Dr Alice Rogers
c/- Marine Spatial Ecology Lab 
The University of Queensland 
[email protected]