Resilience Potential of Coral Reefs in the Mariana Islands
This webinar was conducted as part of the "Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series" held in partnership between the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the FWS National Conservation Training Center. Webinar Summary: Reducing coral reef vulnerability to climate change requires that managers understand and support the natural resilience of coral reefs. To assist these managers, a team of researchers, supported by the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PI CSC) undertook a project to: 1) assess ecological resilience in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), which is in the west Pacific near Guam, and 2) collaboratively develop a decision-support framework with local management partners for resilience-based management. The team used an approach that included surveys of 78 sites along reefs surrounding the most populated islands in CNMI (Saipan, Tinian/Aguijan, and Rota), data from environmental monitoring satellites and computer models, an analysis of ‘indicators’ of the processes that underlie reef resilience (e.g., recruitment of new corals), and an assessment of proxies of anthropogenic stress (land-based sources of pollution and accessibility due to wave exposure). The project resulted in a set of scores for relative resilience potential and allowed the team to rank the survey sites within and among the islands from high to low resilience and develop a set of custom criteria for a decision-support framework that can identify sites that warrant management attention.