Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


he multiple-use benefits of coral reefs include tourism, food resources, medicinal uses, and building materials. However, many studies suggest that these important ecosystems are slowly declining and disappearing, which has lead to the creation of many coral reef monitoring and management programs. Approaches to monitoring and managing coral reefs can be divided into two broad categories: top-down and bottom up. Top-down approaches to monitoring and managing coral reefs don't involve the community, and tend not be as effective as bottom-up approaches that involve all community stakeholders. However, these bottom-up approaches vary in their degree of effectiveness. I reviewed 5 coral reef monitoring programs for the purpose of identifying their strengths and weaknesses and making recommendations on how to improve or establish effective community-based programs. Common strengths included a continuing education program, sustained interaction and communication with all community stakeholders, acceptance by the community, and community involvement in decision- making processes. Programs lacking these characteristics tended not to be as successful. Thus, to be effective, a community-based program should include ongoing educational programs, and involve the local community stakeholders in all aspects of the monitoring and management program. In addition, successful programs will also provide continuous feedback to local officials.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute