37 REEF CHECK SURVEYS
• Reef Check Australia helps to protect Australia’s coral reefs by training volunteers from the general community to monitor the health of local coral reef sites. Reef Check Australia’s data is available to coral reef scientists, managers and communities to help improve the sustainable management of coral reefs.
• Compared to Reef Check international, Reef Check Australia’s survey methods are more comprehensive, involving more environmental indicators and categories.
• A Reef Check Australia survey involves a substrate survey, an invertebrate and impact survey, and a fish survey. Volunteers use several transect tapes to carry out the survey along a measured length of coral reef.
• The substrate survey involves calculating hard coral and soft coral cover, as well as an estimate of rock, sand and silt cover on the reef. • The invertebrate survey includes counting banded coral shrimp, certain species of sea cucumbers and sea urchins, and the presence/absence of other invertebrates including lobsters, anemones and giant clams.
• An impact survey looks for bleaching, coral disease, drupella snails, Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS) and any other physical damage to the coral.
• These surveys also aim to increase coral reef stewardship by using volunteers to help carry out the surveys. The volunteers must be relatively experienced divers who have participated in the Reef Check Research Volunteer Training course.
• Reef Check Australia website: www.reefcheckaustralia.org