GCRMN Caribbean Launches Call for Data




The GCRMN was established by ICRI in 1995 to monitor the condition of the world’s coral reefs. The GCRMN has published an extensive range of global, regional, and thematic reports on coral reef status and trends. The GCRMN collates and presents coral reef data, aggregating from national to regional levels, and then to a global level.

The flagship products of the GCRMN are the “Status of Coral Reefs of the World” reports, supplemented by topical reports developed upon request of the global community and ICRI, and regional reports highlighting the status and trends of coral reefs across the network’s 10 regions. Since 1995, six “Status of Coral Reefs of the World” global reports have been published by the network at large. The sixth edition of the GCRMN “Status of Coral Reefs of the World” report released in 2021, was the first since 2008, and the first based on the quantitative analysis of a global dataset compiled from raw monitoring data contributed by more than 300 members of the network. 

The GCRMN-Caribbean, representing the Caribbean Node of the GCRMN, is an open network of over 250 members: coral reef scientists, managers, and government expert representatives. The GCRMN-Caribbean is led by a Steering Committee (SC) with the support of UNEP-CEP and the Regional Activity Centre for the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife for the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW-RAC) as regional coordinator. Following the “Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012” (Jackson et al., 2014) report UNEP-CEP initiated efforts to revitalise and strengthen coral reef monitoring.

In 2024, the GCRMN Caribbean Node is launching a call for coral reef monitoring data to support to production of the “Status of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2024″. These data are also intended to be used for the upcoming global report – “Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2025” report. 

Which data are of interest?

The GCRMN-Caribbean are looking for monitoring data on percentage cover of benthic organisms. These data can be from consistent, long-term temporal monitoring programs (i.e., repeated, multiple surveys over time) or from once-off spatial surveys (i.e., a single survey in time). Ideally, the GCRMN is looking for the finest spatial level (e.g. photo-quadrat level instead of site averaged level) and the finest taxonomic level (e.g. species level instead of broad category). The more data we receive at finer spatial and taxonomic levels, the more accurate the indicators will be.

The Node is also seeking metadata associated with these data. Metadata is additional information that is necessary to contextualise and interpret data. Two types of metadata are necessary: 1) latitude and longitude of monitoring sites, and 2) year of the monitoring event (or ideally the date). Additional metadata about the depth where the observation has been collected, the monitoring method used (e.g., line intercept transects, 50m long transect), the name of the person in charge of the observation, the equivalences of benthic organism’s code used (if any), the level of protection of the site (e.g., within a Marine Protected Area or not) are also highly beneficial. 

How to share your data?

You are able to shared your data with the GCRMN in multiple formats and the data do not need to be standardised as this process will be undertaken by the GCRMN. Upon sharing your data, the GCRMN will enter into a Data Sharing Agreement with you, as the contributor, where you deem necessary. 

To share your data with the GCRMN, it is recommended that you read the;

  • A Guide for Data Contributors” developed by the GCRMN to provide you with the necessary information on how contributed data are used, the data that are of interest and how to share data most efficiently. Additional information on metadata, data storage and standardisation and acknowledgement of contributions is provided. 

Once you have read the guidance document, it is then important to review the;

  •  “Data Sharing Agreement” sets out the terms and conditions under which the GCRMN can use your data and how you will be acknowledged for your contributions. The Data Sharing Agreement is available in English, French and Spanish. 

Next steps

Once you have read through each document and you are comfortable to share your data with the GCRMN for the production of the next Caribbean regional report (and support the production oft he next Global Report), return a signed DSA to Caribbean Regional Node Coordinator:

  • Auriane PETIT
    SPAW-RAC Marine Ecosystems Project Officer – Regional Activity Centre for the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife for the Wider Caribbean Region (UNEP-CEP)