Every survey completed by a volunteer, whether it is in the tropical paradise of the Caribbean, or the hot humid jungle of Africa, adds to Coral Cays’ central database.  This carefully collected data, whether it is the abundance and diversity of species or the health of the marine or terrain environment, tells us a story about each site surveyed.

With sufficient and comprehensive data, we can determine areas of degradation, monitor environmental change, predict areas of risk from disease or human intervention, or assess species abundance and biodiversity.   

All this information is collated into a database and then processed, analysed and finally it is used to develop a variety of maps portraying the scientific findings onto satellite images using Geographic Information Systems. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a way of managing, analysing and visualising this data, and so we are in position to identify key areas that require conservation action and sustainable management.  

In a simple sense, it can be utilized as a communication and checking tool.  For example, the map below shows the Data Output from our expedition site in Southern Leyte in relation to the Conservation Management Values.
Southern Leyte, The Philippines 2010 - Conservation Management Values

Furthermore, it also can be used to produce more complex analysis outputs based on modelling.  Examples can include finding key areas of biodiversity or specific reefs heavily impacted by sedimentation. For example, the map below shows the data outputs in relation to the percentage of coral bleaching effecting the coral reefs in Koh Rong Island, Cambodia. 

Koh Rong, Cambodia 2010 - Coral bleaching percentages
 
We then work with our partner organisations, governments and NGOs to implement environmental management proposals to protect these key target areas and help sustain the livelihoods of the local community. Successful implementation of programmes relies heavily on the capacity training of local people through CCC’s Scholarship Programmes. Once Coral Cay leaves the site, the communities take over our work and become the stewards of reef and rainforest conservation which is essential to the preservation of these valuable natural resources.

This formula has proven successful over time since 1986. For more specific examples of our conservation successful projects in marine and rainforest conservation, see our Achievements . But, of course this success would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of volunteers like you!!
 
Another use that such valuable information has includes, educating local schools and children about the importance of their reefs in terms of their own livelihoods. We can use the data collected to illustrate child friendly GIS maps and educate them about marine conservation to avoid further neglect and in turn prevent further poverty for future generations.
 
Another use that such valuable information has includes, educating local schools and children about the importance of their reefs in terms of their own livelihoods. We can use the data collected to illustrate child friendly GIS maps and educate them about marine conservation to avoid further neglect and in turn prevent further poverty for future generations.

Take the following illustration which shows levels of coral bleaching in Tobago.