The much-anticipated Biophysical Monitoring Training Course for our staff at the Tobago Cays Marine Park was completed; six staff members are now certified and can conduct routine Biophysical Monitoring at the Marine Park.
The Biophysical Monitoring Training Program provided the TCMP with the institutional capacity to determine the changes in abundance, size, species composition and biomass of ecologically and economically important species within our Marine Protected Area.
The Training Course (theoretical and practical) covered the following components:
Beach Profiling – provides information that can be used to monitor whether sediment (i.e., sand) along the section of the beach being monitored is eroding or accreting and to quantify the level of change.
Benthic Resource Monitoring – The theoretical session focused on the objectives of the various monitoring protocols as well as the various equipment and procedures for each methodology.
Participants conducted in-water monitoring for seagrass and sea urchin at two (2) of the permanent monitoring sites and monitor for Queen Conch at three (3) of the permanent monitoring sites within the TCMP.
Water Quality Training – this covered areas such as completing data sheets, labeling sample bottles, collecting water samples and collecting in-situ monitoring parameters (e.g., temperature, turbidity). Water quality analysis for parameters (i.e., Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Nitrates, Phosphates and Coliform Bacteria) were also done.
Data Entry and Analysis – This component of the Biophysical Training Program was designed to allow for the development of monitoring reports that would follow all monitoring activities and help to facilitate the adaptive management process of the TCMP.
The Biophysical Training Program was conducted between the period December 15th to 23rd 2020 by Marine Protected Area Solutions (MPAS) under the ongoing project “Enhancement of resource management capacity within the Tobago Cays Marine Park” funded by the SVG Conservation Fund.