Coastal managers are seeking generic, inexpensive, and easy to use tools to help manage and/or restore coastal habitats. This objective will gather and integrate all information relative to S. alveolata ecophysiology and reef-building activity into the development of a generic health index for S. alveolata reefs.
To date no such index exists for S. alveolata and the only available metrics include a complex time-consuming assessment of the condition of reefs only, that is not widely applicable (Desroy et al. 2011) or simple estimates of percentage cover which does not account for the fact that many of the individuals in the tubes may in fact be dead (the tubes remain long after the animal has died).
This health index will reflect the multifaceted nature of reef and will consider the best descriptors gathered from objectives 1 to 4. We are aware that the usefulness of such index should not involve laboratory experimentation, complex measurements or time-consuming processing.
We will provide a detailed photo-guide, comprising a scoring protocol for key features (e.g. spatial extent, minimum and maximum height, colour, tube condition, percent cover of epibionts, etc.) to enable rapid assessment of the health status of the reef with large scale homogeneous information.