Developing a monitoring protocol is the first step in determining the needs of an individual reef. This will give insight into the various factors affecting the reef’s potential for resilience to ocean acidification. Important data to collect include salinity, water residence time, air and water temperature, dissolved inorganic content, fluctuation of and relative pCO2 levels, total alkalinity, light levels, and nutrient levels. Having this data set for an individual reef will provide a thorough understanding of the factors that are affecting the corals potential for resilience to ocean acidification.
The MPA guidelines provided in this toolkit are valuable strategies for MPA managers to respond to growing climate change risks, including ocean acidification. Additionally, these networks should include reefs that have demonstrated resilience to ocean acidification or other past events such as bleaching.
Additionally, the following recommendations to adapt MPA design to ocean acidification were made in the Honolulu Declaration:
- Incorporate reefs of low vulnerability or susceptibility to ocean acidification into MPA zoning plans during development or routine review.
- Incorporate into MPA management plans specific adaptation strategies and actions to address climate-change threats (ocean acidification and warming and sea-level rise), including monitoring of their effectiveness.
- Regularly review coral reef management plans to incorporate the latest research and scientific findings into a proactive and adaptive approach to address ocean acidification impacts.
- Develop, test, and, where appropriate, apply interventions to reduce the effects of ocean acidification on high-priority areas and species, for example by reducing impacts from local disturbances.
- Develop, test, and implement innovative interventions to reduce damage to reefs weakened by ocean acidification, and to promote the replenishment of reef communities impoverished by loss of coral species to the combined impacts of climate change, including elevated seawater temperatures and sea-level rise.
- Integrate coral reef management with land-use and coastal zone planning and practices to reduce pollutant inputs (notably, ammonium compounds, nitrogen and sulphur oxides) that increase the acidity of local waters.