Coral Health Monitoring & CoralWatch Surveys

Large coral coverage is important as it the foundations species of a reef ecosystem. The hard corals create and define the ecosystem, form the base of the food chain in tropical areas, and provide important habitat and nursery grounds for many other species. Simply determining the percentage of coral coverage is not enough however to determine the overall state of the reef. Highly biodiverse ecosystems with many different species are often more resilient to changing conditions and can better withstand significant disturbances.

This survey methodology aims to establish and monitor the diversity of corals species found at our project locations in conjunction with the University of Queensland. As it is nearly impossible to determine coral species without genetic testing or electron microscopy, coral will be identified up to the genus level using Coral Finder 3.0, Corals of the World ID book and other ID books as references.




Objective – To effectively identify individual corals to the genus level using macro digital photography within study site to determine diversity; and to document coral health using the CoralWatch method
Method – Using the CoralWatch method and CoralWatch Colour Chart our interns go out and locate the 20 marked corals, take ID shots and record the lightest and darkest areas of each colony which is then uploaded to our own database as well as the CoralWatch site.