Compiling the data
Hawaii has few continuous long-term monitoring datasets, but has been extensively studied through one-time or short-term efforts. Faced with the paucity of time series data, we focused on a “space-for-time substitution” approach, drawing on data from the nearly 3500 sites that had been surveyed at least once since 2000. This allowed us to look at spatial patterns in reef community composition, environmental factors and human activities and develop hypotheses about reef change through time. We then used our more limited temporal data to explore those hypotheses.
Expanding upon previous efforts, we compiled the most comprehensive database of fish and reef data available for the Hawaiian Islands. To make the data comparable, we carefully calibrated across methods to combine information from numerous monitoring programs4.
“The Ocean Tipping Points project is one of my favorite projects because it brings together all of the data that’s been collected by everybody through time on our coral reefs in Hawaii. Now we have it all in one place.”
-- Darla White, biologist, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, Maui