Report on Surveys carried out at Robinson Crusoe Resort

on Likuri Island, Viti Levu,

by students from the Institute of Cultural Ecology, (I.C.E.)

 

Helen R Sykes

Resort Support

 

 

Introduction:

 

I.C.E. is a US based organization that arranges educational programmes for students, largely from the U.S.A. The students on this course were from a variety of universities in the U.S., and were an average age of 20-22 years old. They were trained in survey techniques, and their surveys were supervised by Helen Sykes of Resort Support, a Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network National Coordinator.

 

Survey Team members:

Regina Bresler, Laura Kealty, Jennifer Krolick, Ben Megna, Neomi Mustain, Andrea Podesta, Daniel Proctor, Sarah Pulitzer, Julie Siegfried, Lindsey Smith, Paul Tannenbaum, Danika Zupic.

Survey Team Leader:

Helen Sykes (Resort Support)

 

Robinson Crusoe Resort is a resort on the small island of Likuri off the Coral Coast of the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji. It has been operating since the start of 2003, and can accommodate up to 100 guests. The resort is set up with a very high level of water conservation, and effective sewage treatment. It is being used to develop a standard Environmental Impact Assessment technique that would be suitable for use at small resorts throughout the Fiji islands.

 

The twelve students from I.C.E. spent 2 days at Robinson Crusoe Resort. During this time they undertook a fish census of part of the reef, and quadrat surveys to characterize the main substrate composition and algal levels of three areas around the coast of the island. Their results are being used both to identify areas worthy of further examination, and also to develop survey techniques that can be effectively carried out by non-scientific volunteer surveyors.

 

 

Methods:

 

Students were split into teams:

Team A:          Danika, Regina, Danny, Laura

Team B:          Jen, Lindsey, Sarah, Andrea

Team C:          Paul, Julie, Ben. Neomi

 

Three locations were examined:

The Mudflats at the back of the resort, The Sea Grass beds on the coast, and the rubble beds off the tip of the island (Past the channel).

 

Map of survey areas:

 

 

In each case, 12 x 1m2 quadrats were counted. The three teams were spaced 10m apart.  They recorded the content of one quadrat each near the start of the habitat (at the first water cover at the coast on the mudflats and the sea grass beds, and just over the channel at the island tip.), and then 20, 40 and 60m from the start point.

 

The quadrats were divined into 100 squares 10cm x 10cm. The dominant substrate cove in each square was recorded as :

San/Mud, Rubble, Rock, or Algae.

In the sea Grass Beds the types of algae were identified.

 

Invertebrates were also searched for and counted.

 

 

 

 

Results:

 

Percentage cover in each quadrat

 

 

Mudflats

Sea Grass

Island Tip

 

 

0m

20m

40m

60m

0m

20m

40m

60m

0m

20m

40m

60m

Sand/Mud

A

90

18

25

70

 

27

23

100

4

65

26

43

 

B

95

25

89

100

 

98

11

3

86

82

72

74

 

C

80

75

70

84

 

60

10

80

20

40

77

62

MEAN

 

88

39

61

85

0

62

15

61

37

62

58

60

Rock

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

3

 

B

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

2

4

MEAN

 

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

1

2

Rubble

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

B

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

2

 

 

 

 

C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

10

 

 

MEAN

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

3

0

4

Algae

A

10

82

75

30

100

73

77

 

96

33

74

42

 

B

4

75

11

 

99

2

89

96

12

18

28

26

 

C

10

25

30

16

100

40

90

20

70

40

21

34

MEAN

 

8

61

39

15

100

38

85

39

59

31

41

34

 

 

 

Overview of average compositions:

 

Mudflats

Sea Grass

Island Tip

Sand/Mud

68

35

54

Rock/ Rubble

1

 

5

Algae

31

65

41

 

 

 

Algal type in Sea Grass Beds:

 

 

0m

20m

40m

60m

MEAN

Eel Grass

A

 

73

 

 

 

 

B

96

 

75

96

 

 

C

86

40

90

18

48

Branching

A

87

 

77

 

 

 

B

3

2

14

 

 

 

C

14

 

 

 

16

Scroll

A

11

 

 

 

 

 

B

 

 

 

 

 

 

C

 

 

 

 

1

Swiss Cheese

A

2

 

 

 

 

 

B

 

 

 

 

 

 

C

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

Discussion of results:

 

General:

This is a shallow mudflat that has been extensively over-fished over a long period by village subsistence fishers, and small scale commercial fishers from the main island. It is heavily affected by silt run-off from the nearby river. Coral health is poor, but it would be expected to be an area rich in invertebrate life.

 

There is a very busy backpacker resort on the island, and part of this survey’s objective is to start continual monitoring of prospective impacts that may be caused by this resort. To this end, algal cover is monitored as a measure of sewage pollution. At the moment, the algal cover is no worse in the areas in close proximity to the resort than elsewhere on the surrounding flat.

 

Quadrat results:

The quadrat surveys showed high algal cover in all areas surveyed, and this ties in with high nutrient levels seen in previous water quality surveys of the area. This study was an initial baseline, and will be repeated in future to monitor whether this level rises or falls.

 

The highest algal cover was in the sea grass beds, and this was dominated by Eel Grass, probably Syringodium filiforme, and a branching brown algae, probably Dictyota species.

Other brown algae represented were Swiss Cheese Algae, Hydroclathratus species, and Scroll algae, Padina species.

 

There were very few invertebrates seen, in the areas that would be considered ideal habits especially for sea cucumbers, Tripnuestes urchins (Cawaki) and small snails. This is considered to be due to over-fishing at a subsistence level.

 

Conclusion:

 

This area is generally over-fished, and low in health corals and invertebrates. Much of this is due to siltation from the river, and nutrient run-off from the main island farms and communities.

 

The quadrat method was found quite easy to use and quantify, and will be repeated to form the basis of continual monitoring of this area.