Computational Ecology and Software, 2016, 6(1): 21-30
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Coral reef assessment and monitoring made easy using Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe) software in Calangahan, Lugait, Misamis Oriental, Philippines

S. R. M. Tabugo, D.L. Manzanares, A.D. Malawani
Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Philippines

Received 22 August 2015;Accepted 30 September 2015;Published online 1 March 2016

Coral reef communities are considered as the most diverse marine ecosystems that provide food, shelter and protection to marine organisms. It provides many important benefits to humans but often a subject to impairment through human activities. Cascading human influences and climate change appeared as a reason behind its decline. Thus, coral reef monitoring methods are substantial. This study utilized Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe) software, as a means to increase efficiency of coral reef monitoring efforts because it automates, facilitates and speeds the process of random point count analysis and can perform image calibration, planar area and length calculations of benthic features. The method was used to estimate community statistics of benthos based on captured still images for every 1m marked across four 50m transect line (total 200 m) at 4.6-5.6m depth. Transect images were assigned with 30 spatial random points for identification. Multiple image frames were combined for each transect length supplying datasheet containing header information, statistical parameters species / substrate type (relative abundance, mean and standard deviation) and Shannon-Weaver and Simpson's Index calculation for species diversity. Generated transect datasets were statistically analyzed to give quantitative population estimates over the area of interest. Data from individual frames were combined per transect to allow both inter- and intra- site/transect comparisons. This study reports the current status of coral reefs across Calangahan, Lugait, Misamis Oriental, Philippines and proved the efficiency of CPCe as a tool in reef assessment and monitoring. Results showed that most common genera Porites and Acropora were dominant, with Porites lobata as the most abundant coral species in the area. Moreover, results also showed that there were various diseases present affecting corals leading to increased mortality.

Keywords coral reef monitoring;species diversity;Porites;Acropora;Lugait;Misamis Oriental.

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