The Capacity Building for Reef Assessment and Coral Taxonomy (C-BRACT) is a two-part training which aims to equip local stakeholders with knowledge and skills on reef assessment highlighting a standardized methodology to properly understand and manage Philippine coral reefs. The training was conducted by the De La Salle University (DLSU) – Bro Alfred Shields FSC Ocean Research (ShORe) Center supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).

Reef Assessment

The first part of the training is focused on reef assessment, particularly on the data collection used in the recent nationwide coral reef assessment, including preparations and post-assessment activities.

The reef assessment methodology presented was adapted from the standard operating procedures by van Woesik et al. (2009), which is widely used in the Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) Program. The CRTR is the leading international coral reef research initiative that provides a coordinated approach to a standardized and scientifically-proven knowledge for improved coral reef management.

Coral Taxonomy

The second part of the training is focused on the coral taxonomy, including and introduction to threatened and evolutionary distinct globally endangered (EDGE) species. The pictures taken from the field assessment are analyzed with the help of a software Coral Point Count with Excel extensions where points are generated and randomly distributed on the picture. The benthic feature where the point landed is then scored using taxonomic amalgamation units or TAUs which includes common genera of corals, non-coral living organisms, and abiotic features of the coral reef environment.

Both trainings included a training manual designed for further re-echo, along with handouts of the presentations and related readings.

Training Re-echos

Since the aim of the training is to capacitate local stakeholders on knowledge and skills in studying the reefs in their region, re-echo trainings are encouraged to be conducted.

November 2018 Re-echo

In November 28-30, 2018, an initial re-echo of the Reef Assessment training was conducted. The activity had two objectives: to re-echo and discuss the modules on reef assessment and to gather photo transect data that will be used in second training on Coral Taxonomy.