Activities
 

Since the “Coral Reefs under Climate and Anthropogenic Perturbations” (i.e. IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP) Project was established to safeguard the health of coral reef ecosystems, and to carry out cost-effective managements to maintain the sustainability of coral reefs, with a well-coordinated network within the Western Pacific Region, activities of this project was mainly focused on the promotion of collaborations and capacity development in Western Pacific Region.

IOC/WESTPAC Training Course: “Impact of Sedimentary Dynamics and Biogeochemistry on Coral Reefs”
It was highlighted on the first workshop of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project at Shanghai in 23-26 May, 2009, that training activity should be considered as one of important components of this project in developing collaborations on coral reef research in view of the pressing need from member states in IOC/WESTPAC Region on capacity building. This training activity is considered as contribution to the IOC/WESTPAC Sub-Commission as capacity development component. Therefore, the training course on the “Impact of Sedimentary Dynamics and Biogeochemistry on Coral Reefs” was designed to:
• Build capacity to deal with the impacts of sediment on coral reefs for the IOC/WESTPAC member states;
• Establish an international research network in the field of sedimentary dynamics on coral reefs;
• Identify cooperative activities concerning impacts of sediment on coral reefs in the IOC/WESTPAC region;
• Share information, technology and methodology among researchers and young people from inside and outside the IOC/WESTPAC region.

The training activity covers the following 5 sub-topics with experts invited within IOC/WESTPAC Region.

a. Sedimentary dynamics of coral reef environment (Lecturer: Prof. Fernando Siringan)
• Sedimentation processes (e.g. sedimentation rate and variability)
• Sediment characteristics (e.g. composition and source)
• Sediment records of past environmental changes
• Sedimentary dynamics and coral reefs

b. Hydro-dynamics of coral reef systems (Lecturer: Prof. Pramot Sojisuporn)
• Oceanographic characteristics and hydrography in coral reefs
• Circulation and climate related issues
• Numerical models and observation techniques

c. Marine pollution and biogeochemistry (Lecturers: Prof. Gi Hoon Hong and Prof. Jing Zhang)
• Land and marine sources of nutrients and pollutants to coral reefs
• Cycling of chemical elements in coral reef ecosystems
• Food-web and biogeochemical dynamics
• Effect of climate change and human perturbations on the sustainability of coral reefs

d. Application of remote sensing and GIS in studying coral reefs (Prof. Yun Xuan Zhou)
• Remote sensing applications in ocean studies
• Application of remote sensing techniques in coral reef studies
• Coastal change monitoring and detection using remote sensing and GIS
• Status of remote sensing in the IOC/WESTPAC Region

e. Biology and ecology of coral reefs (Lecturer: Prof. Thamasak Yeemin)
• Biology of corals and reef ecology
• Climate change and resilience of coral reefs
• Impact of sediment loads on corals and coral reef ecosystem
• Survey and monitoring methodology on coral reefs

Overall, 19 participants joined the IOC/WESTPAC Training Course: “Impact of Sedimentary Dynamics and Biogeochemistry on Coral Reefs”, and 7 member countries were involved including China (3), Indonesia (2), Korea (3), Vietnam (1), Thailand (4), Malaysia (3), and Philippines (3) (Photo 1). Most of the participants in this training course are PhD students plus some young scientists and colleagues working in marine science related administrations. The research background of participants is mostly coral biology, biogeochemistry, oceanography and microbiology.

The training activity at Koh Samui of Thailand was composed of three parts, including extensive lectures in Day One (15 June 2010) and the morning of Day Three (17 June 2010), field observations at two sites of coral reefs, collection and process on sediment samples from coral reefs, as well as open discussion and data analysis.

As for the lectures, courses were taught on sedimentary dynamics and its impacts on the coral reefs (3.5 hours), biogeochemical cycles of nutrients and trace elements in the coral reefs in relation to land-use change and pollution (3 hours), biological and ecological aspects of corals and coral reefs (2 hours), all these topics were covered on Day One. Again, in the morning of Day Three, two other courses, i.e. circulation and modeling (3.5 hours) and remote sensing and GIS application (2 hours) were offered. During the last day, a 30-minute presentation provided a background on submarine groundwater discharge and its possible impact on coral reefs. The field observations were carried out on Day Two from morning to late afternoon. Besides the training course, participants were guided to visit two sites of coral reefs, one has relative high turbidity along the coast of Koh Samui, another is on a small island across the channel with low turbidity and connection to the open waters. Equipments and facilitates for diving and snorkeling were provided, so that participants can join the sediment collection and under-water observation of coral reefs. Later in the afternoon, sample process at in situ laboratory include water sample filtration with vacuum system, identification of samples from two sites, and collection of particulate matter from deposition plates etc., which gave the participants an opportunity to learn the technique of coral reef observations and research.

The last one day and half (i.e. 17-18 June) were devoted to presentation of results by the participants. Open discussion and poster session were organized, so that participants have opportunity to introduce their own research work to the colleagues in the class and at the same time, and get known by other participants (Photo 4). This also helps to exchange the experiences among participants themselves, and between participants and lecturers.

Second IOC/WESTPAC Training Course: “Water Quality and Impact on Coral Reefs”
One of the outputs from the Phuket Meeting was to organize the second training activity at Sanya of Hainan in 8-11 June 2011 with an emphasis on the “Water Quality and Impact on Coral Reefs”.

The objectives of the second training activity are:
• Capacity building through training on the impacts of water quality on coral reefs for the WESTPAC countries;
• Establish an international network in the field of water quality studies on coral reefs;
• Identify cooperative activities concerning impacts of water quality on coral reefs in the WESTPAC region;
• Sharing information, technology and methodology among researchers and experts from inside and outside the WESTPAC region.

The proposed training activity was held at Sanya, Hainan Island, of China. Sanya is located in the southern tip of Hainan Island. Coral reef around Sanya was one of the most important reef systems where the first national coral reef reserve in China was constructed in 1990. However,along with the population growth, urbanization, coastal development (e.g. tourism) and the associated consequences of high sedimentation, eutrophication and pollution in Sanya became important issues of environmental concern over last decade, the marine ecosystem in this region has significantly deteriorated. Coral reefs around Sanya were also suffering from negative water quality trend and reef degradation.

The topics of lecture include:
a. Marine pollution and biogeochemistry (Prof. Gi Hoon Hong from Republic of Korea), 3 hours
• Land and marine sources of nutrients and pollutants to coral reefs
• Cycling of chemical elements in coral reef ecosystems
• Food-web and biogeochemical dynamics
• Effect of marine pollution on the sustainability of coral reefs

b. Non-point source pollution of coral reef environment (Prof. Fernando P. Siringan from Philippines), 2 hours
• Methods for assessing non-point source pollution in coral reefs (i.e. usingδN15 of macroalgae)
• Submarine groundwater discharge and coral reef

c. Heavy metals and other pollutants recorded in coral skeleton (Prof. Gang Jian Wei from China), 2 hours
• Heavy metals recorded in coral skeleton
• Sewages (i.e. freshwater discharge, sediment delivery and nutrient availability) recorded in coral skeleton

d. Water quality on biology and ecology of coral reefs (Prof. Thamasak Yeemin from Thailand and Hui Huang from China), 3 hours
• Water quality parameters in coral reef monitoring
• Methods for assessing sewage stress on coral reefs
• Water quality and coral bleaching thresholds
• Water quality deterioration and reef degradation

The total number of trainee was 32, including 14 fully funded students. The trainees, 16 of them were non-Chinese, were from 10 districts and/or countries: The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mainland China. The training course was divided into 3 parts: lectures from experts; field and labortory investigations; oral presentations and/or posters by trainees.

Through the 2nd IOC/WESTPAC Training Course, students had investigated the effect of water quality on coral reefs and the status of reefs from the Sanya where human disturbance has dramatic influences on the marine ecosystem. Trainees have opportunity to learn some basic skills on reef survey and measurements of water quality parameters, either by practical work or demonstration. The training course provided an opportunity and a basis for cooperative studies and exchanging information in the Western Pacific Region.

Moreover, during group discussions among the participants, they concluded that there is a need for inter-disciplinary and trans-boundary collaborations in coral research in the IOC/WESTPAC Region. They opined that there was a need to have uniform protocols and/or develop new methods so that results across the region can be easily compared and thus facilitate regional data analyses. They also gave an overall impression that there were many studies in each country whose results were not readily available but that these data could be very useful in the future. We would like to have a mechanism by which such data could be accessed by students and other researchers in the IOC/WESTPAC Region.

The training course was designed to deliver basic scientific concepts and tools to investigate water quality on the health of the coral reefs. The site of the field trip in Luhuitou Fringe Reef was strategically chosen for the students to experience relatively turbid water where the seawater was severely polluted by, for example, the constructions and reclamation. Therefore, the students were able to see by their naked eyes and practiced with their hands on how the turbidity (i.e. change in suspended particle concentration) impeded the sun light penetration in the water column and thereby affected the photosynthetic activity of coralline algae.

Throughout the field observation and laboratory exercises, a number of participants were approached to the lecturers and discussed his/her on going research activities and study plans for the near future. Future scientific visits were also discussed among participants.

Second Workshop of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project
The second IOC/WESTPAC Workshop on the Coral Reef under Climate and Anthropogenic Perturbations (i.e. IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project) began at the Royal City Hotel, Phuket, at 09:30 on Monday, 22 June 2010 with generous support from the Marine Biodiversity Research Group from Ramkhamhaeng University. The workshop was sponsored by the Ramkhamhaeng University, East China Normal University through contract with SOA of China and IOC/WESTPAC Sub-Commission. Totally up to 15 participants were involved in this first workshop from Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. The workshop invited also participants of 2nd APCRS to join the scientific presentations and discussions on the activity of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project.

The second workshop of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project was run for three days with oral presentations and open discussion on day one (i.e. 22 June 2010). The second half of this workshop is reserved for the discussion on the special issue of publication on coral reefs in the Western Pacific Region, preparation of synthesis document to assess the actual situation of coral reefs and to identify the hot topics of research. The Terms-of-Reference (TOR) of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project is also revised on this meeting. The participants and observers to this meeting jointly prepared the summary and synthesis document at Phuket of Thailand.

To ensure the high-quality outcomes from the workshop, following information and ideas have been shared among participants for their preparations of the meeting before coming to Phuket Island:
Part one: Each participant will deliver an oral presentation and contribute to the discussion on coral reefs related research progress, based on their research activities and experiences.
Part two: Here, participants are expected to bring information and research results from institutions in their own countries that will help them prepare manuscripts for publication in international media. The idea of having a special issue in one of international journals on Coral Reefs of Western Pacific Region has been proposed and will be further elaborated on the meeting.
Part three: Participants will provide an overview of the work that is being carried out in their own countries. Participants are expected to have with them the necessary information for this. Based on the discussions, the TOR of this project will be revised.
Part Four: Discussion will be on the experiences from the first Summer School at Koh Samui of Thailand in 15-18 June 2010, followed by discussion on the future workshops and summer schools, and the local contributions and hospitality that can be expected from the potential hosts. Collaborations with other Coral Reefs related activities will be also discussed.

After the opening of this workshop, Drs. Thamasak Yeemin (Thailand) and Fernando Siringan (Philippines) reported to the committee on the activities of the first training activity of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project at Koh Samui of Thailand in 15-18 June 2010. The success of this training activity was well recognized, followed by the discussion on the experience and feed-backs from this training activity, as well as the discussion of having the second training activity in 2010.

During the workshop, each participant was invited to make an oral presentation on the research being carried out in his/her country, with updated information on status of coral reefs. Extensive discussions were made on coral reef related research hot spots and the future activities of this project, including the next workshop and training activity.

In the first session of the IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP workshop, totally 11 oral presentations were delivered by the participants, covering a variety of aspects of coral reef ecosystems from hydrographic conditions, biogeochemical cycling, water quality, sediment dynamics and transportation, biology, and to the biodiversity and health of corals.

In the second session of the IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP workshop, participants were invited to revise the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the IOC/WESTPAC-CoReCAP Project, learning about relevant research progress in member countries, identifying hot topics and potential future directions contributing to the overall synthesis of coral reef researches. The key issues can be summarized as below.
• In terms of revision of TOR, new names were added to the list of working group. Also, the collaboration between IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project with other research projects and organizations were high lighted.
• Discussion on hot spots of research was done during the first workshop at Shanghai in 23-26 May 2009, and effect of sediments on the health of coral reefs was ranked high priority in the region. On the second workshop, sediment issue was mentioned once again. Moreover, it has been realized that coral bleaching becomes another important issue of coral reefs in Western Pacific Ocean given the predicted climate variability, particularly in 2010, as coral bleaching has been identified from several places of IOC/WESTPAC Sub-Commission member countries.
• As for the communications and outputs of coral reef research results by the members of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project, publication of data in a special issue of international journal was discussed. It was agreed on that IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project should have a special issue by the members of this working group, and the theme of proposed special issue and targeted journals were identified on the meeting.
• Also on the workshop, it was proposed that this group need to take the responsibility of synthesis and integration of research data in the Western Pacific Region to fulfill the requirement of mid-term strategy of IOC. Given that there are substantial amount of research activities that have been done in the Western Pacific Region, and data compilation and digestion of coral reefs research results in the region need a considerable time and efforts, the proposed item for synthesis and integration will be left as home work for this group after the workshop.

Third Workshop of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project
The third IOC/WESTPAC Workshop on the Coral Reef under Climate and Anthropogenic Perturbations (i.e. IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP) Project began at the paradise Hotel, at 10:30 on Monday, 28 March 2011 with generous support from the IOC/WESTPAC Secretariat and Korean Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI).

Totally up to 10 full members of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project were involved in scientific activities of this 3rd workshop, with another 25 colleagues from IOC/WESTPAC member countries.

The overall objectives of this IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project are to improve the understanding of the biogeochemical and ecological nature of coral reefs in Western Pacific Region in different geographic, physical and environmental settings, as well as various types of human interventions, in order to evaluate the consequences of impact of climate change and human activities on the health of coral reefs and their sustainable service, and to promote capacity building related to multiple research disciplines on coral reefs through sharing scientific knowledge and training activities, collaborations within research network of IOC/WESTPAC Sub-Commission.

The 3rd workshop of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project was run for 1.5 days with oral presentations and open discussion on day one (i.e. 29 March 2011). The second half of this workshop is reserved for the discussion on the progress of special issue of publication on coral reefs in the Western Pacific Region in Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Oceanography, collection of ideas on the synthesis document to assess the actual situation of coral reefs and to identify the hot topics of research. The full members and other participants to this meeting jointly prepared the summary and synthesis document at the Busan of Republic of Korea.

To ensure the high-quality outcomes from the workshop, following information and ideas have been shared among participants for their preparations of the meeting before coming to Busan, Republic of Korea.
Part one: All participants and other participants are invited to deliver an oral presentation and contribute to the discussion on coral reefs related research progress, based on their research activities and experiences.
Part two: Participants are expected to bring information and research results from institutions in their own countries that will help them prepare manuscripts for publication in international media. The progress of preparation for the special issue with DSR-II on Coral Reefs of Western Pacific Region has been evaluated and will be further elaborated on the meeting.
Part three: Overview will be on the experiences from the first Summer School at Koh Samui of Thailand in 15-18 June 2010, followed by discussion on the summer school at the Sanya of Hainan Island (China) in June 8-11 2011.

On the 3rd workshop, discussion was made on the progress of preparation for the 2nd Training Activity of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project at Sanya of Hainan Island (China) in June 8-11, 2011. On behalf of organizing committee, Dr. Hui Huang from South China Sea Oceanography Institute (Guangzhou), reported to the panel with update information and progress of this training activity, including the scope, structure of lectures and hand-on activity, as well as the infrastructure and facilities at local station.

During the workshop, extensive discussions were made on coral reef related research hot spots and the future activities of this project, and the proposal for the potential collaborations among member countries in the near future. In the first session of the IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP workshop, totally 11 oral presentations were delivered by the participants, covering a variety of aspects of coral reef ecosystems from hydrographic dynamics, biogeochemical cycling, water quality, sediment dynamics and transportation, biology, pollution, biodiversity and health of corals.

In the second part of the IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project workshop, participants were invited to discuss on the research hot issues, including sharing experiences about relevant research progress in member countries, identifying hot topics and potential future directions contributing to the overall synthesis of coral reefs studies in the region. The key issues can be summarized as below.

On the 3rd workshop, coral bleaching and water quality issues have been recognized important factors of coral reefs in the Western Pacific Ocean given the predicted climate variability, particularly in 2010. For example, coral bleaching has been identified from several places of IOC/WESTPAC Sub-Commission member countries, including Thailand, Vietnam and China.

Regards to the outputs of coral reef research results by the members of IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project, the effort has been made to publish the work in a special issue in Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Oceanography. It was agreed on the theme of proposed special issue and list of manuscripts. Also on the workshop, it was proposed that this group need to take the responsibility of synthesis and integration of research data of coral reefs in the Western Pacific Region to fulfill the requirement of mid-term strategy of IOC.

As for the second training activity that will be at Sanya of Hainan Island (China) in June 8-11 2011. It was suggested that IOC/WESTPAC-CorReCAP Project start to explore the funding possibilities (e.g. START/APN and IOC/WESTPAC) to support the proposed training activities in 2011 and prepare for the announcement and the list of participants.

Before the closure of this 3rd Workshop for IOC/WESTPAc-CorReCAP Project, participants were asked for their reflections on the meeting. It was noted that the interaction between IOC national focal points is important to get support for the proposed activities of IOC/WESTPAC-CoReCAP Project. There have been the expression of many good ideas but it would be good if some pilot project activities could be developed to allow participants to have collaboration opportunities. Some participants welcomed the opportunity to overcome the “isolation” syndrome and the establishment of initial links through participation at the meeting. There was a consensus that opportunities had been developed for future collaboration but it would be good to try and seek funding for the proposed activities at national and/or international lvels. Identification of research hot spots has been initiated, but there is a need to look out for new themes where collaboration can be extended.

Copyright 2013 © IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)