Monday, 20 October 2008

Coral Reef Monitoring


Make Your Dives Count. Monitor Coral Reefs

A strong consensus is reached in the scientific community – climate change is happening. And it’s linked to human activity. In the last century earth’s surface temperatures have risen by an estimated 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius). And 2005 was the hottest year on record.

Particularly concerning to Project AWARE Foundation, marine resource managers, scientists, dedicated dive professionals and divers is the effect climate change has on coral reefs – a process called coral bleaching.

New research indicates more than half the world’s coral reefs could die in less than 25 years – with human activities and climate change taking blame. Up to 30 percent of the world’s reefs have already died; another 30 percent are severely damaged according to researchers.

What is CoralWatch?

Project AWARE partners with CoralWatch, a nonprofit research organization from the University of Queensland, Australia, to involve divers and snorkelers in monitoring coral bleaching and assessment of coral health.

CoralWatch makes monitoring coral reefs easy. The CoralWatch chart uses a series of colors representing different stages of bleaching and recovery. Just match the color of the coral with a corresponding color on the chart and record the color code along with coral type on the data sheet. Data collected from monitoring activities is then entered online and analyzed by scientists to answer questions on coral bleaching and recovery patterns as well as the severity and duration of bleaching events.

Get Involved

Dive Professionals and Resource Managers:

  1. Sign up with Project AWARE to regularly monitor local coral reefs.
  2. Receive Project AWARE’s CoralWatch Kit developed specifically for divers including: CoralWatch charts, monitoring guidelines and information, educational materials for divers and a CD Rom containing helpful resources to establish monitoring activities.
  3. Select your reef site, assemble your dive team and regularly monitor local reefs.
  4. Enter CoralWatch Data Online. Your data will be analyzed and made available online to compare the condition of local reefs over time and with different regions of the world.

Divers, Snorkelers and Ecotourists:

  1. Search for a registered Project AWARE CoralWatch Dive Operator near you. Contact the operator to volunteer for monitoring activities at that location.
  2. If you’re unable to find a registered operator for your area at this time, please request a CoralWatch chart from Project AWARE at

Why Monitor Coral Reefs? More information on climate change, coral bleaching and how you can help.

Coral Reef Monitoring