Long-term monitoring (LTM) is a useful method for detecting changes in coral health over time. By repeatedly surveying the same site and/or colonies one can track changes in several variables (i.e. growth, health, competition).
LTM is especially useful when studying coral disease as the results help to answer important questions such as:
- How often are corals becoming affected by a disease?
- How fast does the disease progress?
- Is the disease transmissible or spreading?
- Is this disease killing affected corals or can they recover?
Results obtained from LTM studies help to describe disease characteristics as well as identify predictors for changes in coral health.
Although time consuming and lengthy pre-planning are required; LTM studies provides a wealth of information in regards to spatial and temporal disease characteristics.
'Incidence', 'Mortality' & 'Progression' are several useful measures that are can be determined with Long Term Monitoring.