Bali, Ekuatorial – The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries noted, Indonesia has extensive coral reefs about 51.000 km2 or 18% of the total area of the coral reefs in the world. Unfortunately during the last 50 years, the decline in the quality of Indonesia’s coral reefs has increased from 10% to 50% based on report of the Reef at Risk in 2002 and the survey results from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) concludes, until the end of 2012 of about 30.4 percent of Indonesia’s coral reefs are in a damaged condition.

Pressure from human activities and climate change are the main factors of coral damage that causes stress, bleaching and death of corals. Coral Reef senior researcher from LIPI Prof. Dr. Suharsono also mentioned that about 16% of the coral reefs in Indonesia suffered permanent damage due to climate change. “The rise of temperature in the sea each year could cause mass bleaching coral reefs. Since 1998, there have been around 16 percent of the coral reefs have been damaged permanently,” he said. If suffered from bleaching, then the percentage of the death can reach 60 up to 90 percent.

Some research shows that different coral genus have different susceptibility bleaching. Research from James R. Guest in PLOS One 2012, found that the genus Acropora and Pocillopora are very vulnerable coral type.

One way to identify the coral genus is the latest devices using Coral Finder. The device in the form of photographs of coral reefs genus that is printed on 29 pages of waterproof plastic, equipped with the information about the physical characteristics that differentiate it from other genus, magnifying glass and underwater pens. Coral finder claimed to be able to identify 80 genus of hard corals in the Asia Pacific.

Coral Finder was developed by Russell Kelley from Coral Identification Capacity Building Program (CICBP). The device is rated managed to help identify the genus of coral reefs even by beginners. One of the reef training identification using Coral Finder organized by CICBP and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Reef Check Indonesia Foundation (YRCI) at Tulamben Beach, Bali. Previously, similar training also be held in Wakatobi, Berau and Kepulauan Seribu.

“We simply believe in this (Coral Finder) can get the qualified data of coral genus corals, “said Rizya Ardiwijaya, TNC’s Science Specialist and trainer for Coral Finder usage. Rizya continue that during his experience to train the use of Coral Finder, from beginner’s level was 90% of corals observed can be identified correctly.

He also explained the importance of the identification of the coral genus and the benefit of Coral Finder. “By knowing the coral genus, coral reef monitoring that is done can be further developed, to see the coral reef disease and resilience. It describes the level of quality of the waters,” he explained. This information can be used for further reporting and monitoring and more early about the health of coral reefs.

Rizya says, the material identification in Coral Finder adopted from book Corals of the World by J.N.E. Veron. The difference, Coral Finder has been compiled systematically for the purpose of identification in the field and is designed to be carried to the bottom of the sea. Ratih Rimayanti.

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