So today was spent in the labs at the Ras Mohammed training centre, analysing the photo transects we took yesterday at the Hilton Waterfalls (Paradise Reef). What this involves is uploading all of the photos onto our computers, and then overlaying them with a grid of 3 x 4 points. The substrate underneath the point must then be identified and recorded, and this is repeated for every 0.5m interval photograph for each of the six transects that were taken. The IDing is extremely time consuming, particularly when some substrates are really difficult to see on the photos! But it was very satisfying to finish them all and look at the collected data. We analysed percentage cover for each category for all of the transects for each hotel and the results were very surprising!
When I looked at the percentage of the transect that was covered with coral between the two sites, the coral cover at the Nino Hotel (the one that had been damaged) was less than the cover at the hilton, but not by a big margin. Similarly the amount of the transects consisting of rock, sediment, algae and dead corals was virtually the same for both hotels. Just goes to show what you see in the field may not be what you end up with from the data. Perhaps both reefs are being impacted to a similar degree, but by different activities?