The Reef Resilience Online Courses have been designed to provide easy access to the latest science and strategies for managing coral reefs in a changing climate. Note: some of the courses are available in 3 languages: English, Espanol, and Français. Click on the course titles below to take the course.
Looking to influence behavior or raise awareness about an issue to advance your conservation efforts? The new Strategic Communication Online Course can help you communicate effectively to reach your conservation goal! This training features hands-on exercises, tips and resources, and quizzes to test your understanding of the material. We’ve demystified strategic communication and simplified the planning process so you can work on your own project as you learn. This course is free and open to anyone, but is geared toward coral reef managers and practitioners. The course content covers the communication planning process: goal & objectives, context, target audience(s), messages, messengers and tactics, measurement, and summary plan.
This course is designed to help coral reef managers incorporate climate-smart design into their management activities by considering the effects of climate change on ecosystem stressors and implications for effective management. It describes the process of incorporating climate change adaptation into management plans using existing planned actions as a starting point, and also guides development of additional climate-smart strategies as needed. The course takes about 2 hours to complete and includes the following lessons:
Principles of Climate-Smart Planning (20 minutes) – key concepts of Climate-Smart Conservation, including why and how to brainstorm and design management actions to account for the effects of climate change.
Introduction to the Adaptation Design Tool (20 minutes) – overview of the Adaptation Design Tool, how it works, and best practices for using it effectively.
Applying Climate-Smart Design Considerations to Existing Conservation & Management Actions (45 minutes) – demonstrates Activity 1 of the Adaptation Design Tool, which applies climate-smart design considerations to (1) identify climate change impacts on the effectiveness of your management actions and (2) consider what changes should be made to the actions based on those impacts.
Expanding the List of Adaptation Options & Course Conclusion (30 minutes) – demonstrates Activity 2 of the Adaptation Design Tool, which identifies gaps in your existing plan, helps you brainstorm new actions to fill those gaps, and concludes with next steps on how the tool results can be used to inform other steps of the Climate-Smart Conservation Cycle.
This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of coral reef resilience. It includes three lessons that address the value of coral reefs, local and global stressors causing reef decline, ecological and social resilience and how managers are working to build resilience in coral reef ecosystems. The lessons incorporate new science and management strategies, lessons learned, and case studies. Available in 3 languages: English, Espanol, and Français. The course takes about 1 hour to complete and includes the following lessons:
Overview of Coral Reefs and Resilience (20 minutes) – overview of reef ecosystems and the concept of resilience.
Coral Reef Stressors (20 minutes) – introduces the global, local, and multi-scale stressors that are impacting coral reef ecosystems.
Building Reef Resilience (25 minutes) – introduces management strategies aimed at building reef resilience and includes two case studies that describe how some of these strategies are being implemented.
This course is designed to provide coral reef managers and practitioners in-depth guidance on managing for resilience. It provides a comprehensive discussion of local and global stressors affecting coral reefs, guidance for identifying reef resilience, design principles for resilient MPA networks, methods for implementing resilience assessments, and introduces communication tools for managers. Available in 3 languages: English, Espanol, and Français. The course takes about 9 hours to complete and includes the following lessons:
Module 1: Coral Reef Ecosystem Stressors and Impacts – explores global coral reef stressors related to climate and ocean changes including: warming seas, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, and changes in storm patterns. The impacts of local and regional stressors are also examined. Finally, coral bleaching, a major stress response of corals is addressed including: what causes bleaching, the social and ecological impacts of bleaching, mass bleaching events, and what drives bleaching susceptibility and recovery. Lessons include:
Coral Reef Ecosystem Stressors – Climate and Ocean Change (40 minutes)
Local and Regional Coral Reef Ecosystem Stressors (25 minutes)
Coral Bleaching (40 minutes)
Module 2: Understanding Coral Reef Resilience – explores the concept of resilience in greater detail, building on the definitions of ecological, social, and coral reef resilience from the Introduction to Coral Reef Resilience course (above). Two important ecological processes that support resilience are also examined: coral recruitment and herbivory. Conditions that support coral settlement and survivorship and the role of healthy herbivore populations to inform coral reef monitoring and management efforts are also addressed. Lessons include:
Ecological, Social, and Coral Reef Resilience (35 minutes)
Ecological Processes that Support Resilience (45 minutes)
Module 3: Monitoring and Assessment – discusses the key steps to developing a monitoring plan including: setting objectives, selecting indicators, establishing thresholds and triggers, monitoring methods, and sampling design. Responsive, participatory, and socioeconomic monitoring are examined in detail. Guidance is provided on how to conduct resilience assessments and monitoring and includes details on how to analyze the relative resilience of coral reef sites. Analyzing the resilience of a site can help managers to determine how resilient one site is relative to others in the area; such information can be used to help prioritize local-scale actions to support healthy coral reef ecosystems. Lessons include:
Monitoring and Assessment Basics (20 minutes)
Types of Monitoring (30 minutes)
Assessing and Monitoring Reef Resilience (40 minutes)
Analyzing Relative Resilience (45 minutes)
Module 4: Managing for Resilience – discusses a wide range of management strategies implemented around the world to support reef resilience. Strategies are presented including: reducing land-based sources of pollution, managing recreational impacts to reefs, controlling invasive species, managing fisheries and responding to coral disease. Restoration actions are presented to support recovery of coral reefs and associated habitats following disturbances. Key considerations are also included that should be addressed before undertaking coral reef restoration efforts. Lessons include:
Managing Local Stressors (40 minutes)
Managing Multiple Scale Stressors (25 minutes)
Ecological Restoration (40 minutes)
Module 5: Designing Resilient MPAs – focuses on the guiding principles and recommendations to support the development and implementation of resilient marine protected areas (MPAs). The principles of effective management, representation and replication, critical areas, and connectivity are discussed in detail. Specific guidance is provided on how to apply resilience principles to MPA design that integrate fisheries, biodiversity and climate change objectives. Lessons include:
Principles and Recommendations for Resilient MPAs (60 minutes)
Module 6: Communication and Achieving Conservation Goals – explores the importance of using strategic communication tools to achieve effective coral reef management. Talking points are provided to help managers communicate about coral reef resilience. A step-by-step process illustrates how to develop a communication strategy, and includes guidance on how a communication strategy or social marketing campaign may be used to achieve conservation goals. Managers also receive guidance on clearly defining communication objectives and developing a set of coordinated messages, activities, and products to achieve them. Lessons include:
Importance of Communication (35 minutes)
Developing a Communication Strategy (30 minutes)