Three Leading Marine Conservation Organizations Team Up to Conduct Assessment of Indonesia Coral Reefs Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Reef Check and World

Conservation Union to Examine Damage to Tsunami-Affected

Coral Reefs; Mission Set to Start Next Week



    WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Three leading marine conservation
 organizations will complete an extensive survey next week along the west coast
 of Aceh Province, Indonesia, to determine the impact of last year's
 devastating earthquake and tsunami on the region's coral reefs.
     The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Reef Check and The World
 Conservation Union (IUCN) will carry out a two-week survey from October 17-31
 of over 600 kilometers of Aceh's southwest coast to examine the damage to the
 coral reefs. The survey results will indicate how much of the coral reef
 structure was damaged by the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami and may
 provide some early insight into the natural recovery process including the
 success of corals to reproduce and grow.
     "The health of the coral reef ecosystem along the Sumatra coastline is
 vital to the well-being of the people of Indonesia who depend upon the rich
 resources of the sea. This survey will help us understand the extent of the
 damage to the coral reefs from the tsunami and therefore guide management
 decisions to assist their natural recovery," said Capt. Philip Renaud, USN
 (Ret.), Executive Director of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.
     "It is a notable accomplishment that three marine conservation
 organizations -- the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Reef Check
 and The World Conservation Union -- have joined forces to examine the extent
 of the earthquake and tsunami damage on the Sumatra marine ecosystem. This
 survey will stand as a model to show how environmental groups can and should
 work together to understand and preserve the marine ecosystem. It brings to
 life the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation's objective of conserving
 living oceans through the practice of Science Without Borders(R)," Capt.
 Renaud added.
     The survey outcomes will be incorporated into the Global Coral Reef
 Monitoring Network's (GCRMN) "Post-Tsunami Status of Coral Reefs Report" -- a
 special report in the "Status of Coral Reefs of the World" series, which
 provides the present state of coral reef health around the world. The complete
 status report will be released in early 2006.
     "It is extremely important to determine the status of the reefs in order
 to predict future food availability from the sea in this area," said Reef
 Check Director Gregor Hodgson, Ph.D., who will be coordinating the two-week
 expedition. "This disaster presents a great opportunity to reinforce the
 concepts of marine management in Indonesia and to ensure that sufficient reef
 areas are protected such that fish and shellfish can prosper and reproduce."
     Shipboard expedition participants include: British marine biologist
 Annelise Hagan, Ph.D., the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Research
 Fellow at Cambridge Coastal Research Unit, Department of Geography, University
 of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Sri Lankan marine biologist Nishan Perera of
 IUCN; Reef Check Indonesia ichthyologist Yunaldi, M.D.; dive instructor Cipto
 
 Gunawan; a diving medical doctor Onny M.D.; and two seasoned Aceh-based Reef
 Check scientists.
     The October survey will use rapid survey techniques called "manta tows"
 with detailed Reef Check Plus surveys carried out at regular intervals. A
 manta tow involves towing a diver behind a boat while they record observations
 regarding ecological condition on an underwater slate. The Reef Check survey
 is the only standard method used to survey the world's reefs. Initial surveys
 in the region conducted by Reef Check and other marine conservation
 organizations have revealed varying levels of reef damage, with some reefs
 being entirely uplifted out of the sea and destroyed.
 
     About the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation
     A Washington, D.C. area-based nonprofit organization, the Khaled bin
 Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (http://www.livingoceansfoundation.org) is
 dedicated to the conservation and restoration of living oceans and is focused
 on preservation through research, education and a commitment to Science
 Without Borders(R). It supports several international marine research
 initiatives focused on conservation and restoration of living oceans; marine
 science knowledge management; accessing remote marine sites; and education and
 outreach.
 
     About Reef Check
     Reef Check (http://www.ReefCheck.org), headquartered in Pacific Palisades,
 California, is the largest conservation organization devoted exclusively to
 coral reefs. With research teams in more than 80 countries, Reef Check carries
 out an annual survey of coral reef health and works with governments to
 establish marine-protected areas using ecologically sound and financially
 sustainable solutions.
 
     About the World Conservation Union (IUCN)
     The World Conservation Union (http://www.iucn.org) is the world's largest
 conservation network dedicated to influencing, encouraging and assisting
 societies throughout the world in conserving the integrity and diversity of
 nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and
 ecologically sustainable. IUCN brings together 82 states, 111 government
 agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations and some 10,000
 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership.
 
     CONTACT:  Alan Greilsamer of Communications Resources, LLC(TM),
 office: +1-703-760-7007, mobile: +1-703-201-2508, for Khaled bin Sultan Living
 Oceans Foundation.
 
 

SOURCE Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

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