A citizen science approach to monitoring bleaching in the zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/608609
Title:
A citizen science approach to monitoring bleaching in the zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa
Authors:
Parkinson, John Everett; Yang, Sung-Yin; Kawamura, Iori; Byron, Gordon ( 0000-0002-8221-551X ) ; Todd, Peter Alan; Reimer, James Davis
Abstract:
Coral reef bleaching events are expected to become more frequent and severe in the near future as climate changes. The zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa bleaches earlier than many scleractinian corals and may serve as an indicator species. Basic monitoring of such species could help to detect and even anticipate bleaching events, especially in areas where more sophisticated approaches that rely on buoy or satellite measurements of sea surface temperature are unavailable or too coarse. One simple and inexpensive monitoring method involves training volunteers to record observations of host color as a proxy for symbiosis quality. Here, we trained university students to take the ‘color fingerprint’ of a reef by assessing the color of multiple randomly selected colonies of P. tuberculosa at one time point in Okinawa Island, Japan. We tested the reliability of the students’ color scores and whether they matched expectations based on previous monthly monitoring of tagged colonies at the same locations. We also measured three traditional metrics of symbiosis quality for comparison: symbiont morphological condition, cell density, and chlorophyll a content. We found that P. tuberculosa color score, although highly correlated among observers, provided little predictive power for the other variables. This was likely due to inherent variation in colony color among generally healthy zoantharians in midwinter, as well as low sample size and brief training owing to the course structure. Despite certain limitations of P. tuberculosa as a focal organism, the citizen science approach to color monitoring has promise, and we outline steps that could improve similar efforts in the future.
KAUST Department:
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
Citation:
A citizen science approach to monitoring bleaching in the zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa 2016, 4:e1815 PeerJ
Publisher:
PeerJ
Journal:
PeerJ
Issue Date:
28-Mar-2016
DOI:
10.7717/peerj.1815
Type:
Article
ISSN:
2167-8359
Sponsors:
This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the International Research Hub Project for Climate Change and Coral Reef/Island Dynamics at the University of the Ryukyus. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Additional Links:
https://peerj.com/articles/1815
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorParkinson, John Everetten
dc.contributor.authorYang, Sung-Yinen
dc.contributor.authorKawamura, Iorien
dc.contributor.authorByron, Gordonen
dc.contributor.authorTodd, Peter Alanen
dc.contributor.authorReimer, James Davisen
dc.date.accessioned2016-05-08T15:12:31Zen
dc.date.available2016-05-08T15:12:31Zen
dc.date.issued2016-03-28en
dc.identifier.citationA citizen science approach to monitoring bleaching in the zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa 2016, 4:e1815 PeerJen
dc.identifier.issn2167-8359en
dc.identifier.doi10.7717/peerj.1815en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/608609en
dc.description.abstractCoral reef bleaching events are expected to become more frequent and severe in the near future as climate changes. The zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosa bleaches earlier than many scleractinian corals and may serve as an indicator species. Basic monitoring of such species could help to detect and even anticipate bleaching events, especially in areas where more sophisticated approaches that rely on buoy or satellite measurements of sea surface temperature are unavailable or too coarse. One simple and inexpensive monitoring method involves training volunteers to record observations of host color as a proxy for symbiosis quality. Here, we trained university students to take the ‘color fingerprint’ of a reef by assessing the color of multiple randomly selected colonies of P. tuberculosa at one time point in Okinawa Island, Japan. We tested the reliability of the students’ color scores and whether they matched expectations based on previous monthly monitoring of tagged colonies at the same locations. We also measured three traditional metrics of symbiosis quality for comparison: symbiont morphological condition, cell density, and chlorophyll a content. We found that P. tuberculosa color score, although highly correlated among observers, provided little predictive power for the other variables. This was likely due to inherent variation in colony color among generally healthy zoantharians in midwinter, as well as low sample size and brief training owing to the course structure. Despite certain limitations of P. tuberculosa as a focal organism, the citizen science approach to color monitoring has promise, and we outline steps that could improve similar efforts in the future.en
dc.description.sponsorshipThis work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the International Research Hub Project for Climate Change and Coral Reef/Island Dynamics at the University of the Ryukyus. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherPeerJen
dc.relation.urlhttps://peerj.com/articles/1815en
dc.rightsThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/en
dc.titleA citizen science approach to monitoring bleaching in the zoantharian Palythoa tuberculosaen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)en
dc.identifier.journalPeerJen
dc.eprint.versionPublisher's Version/PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionMolecular Invertebrate Systematics and Ecology Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Biology, and Marine Science, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japanen
dc.contributor.institutionMicrobiology and Biochemistry of Secondary Metabolites Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa, Japanen
dc.contributor.institutionExperimental Marine Ecology Laboratory, National University of Singapore, Republic of Singaporeen
dc.contributor.institutionTropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japanen
dc.contributor.affiliationKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)en
kaust.authorByron, Gordonen
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