We conduct scientific surveys on coral reefs to determine the health and resilience of the reef. At each site we bring a full team of scientific divers to conduct these surveys to get the most scientifically accurate data possible. This helps governments, environmental managers, and local residents gain a better understanding of their local coral reefs so they can better manage and protect them.
In order to get a complete picture of reef health scientists must survey the entire aquatic ecosystem, rather than look at just one plant or animal. We conduct coral surveys, bottom or benthic surveys, and fish surveys at every reef that we visit.
Types of Scientific Surveys
The coral survey consists of recording the size, species and health of every coral along a transect, allowing for an accurate assessment of the coral community on each reef.
The benthic survey involves noting what is on the bottom of the reef every few meters to determine how much space each organism takes up on the reef bottom.
Fish surveys are conducted in a similar fashion, with divers logging the size, species and number of all fish they see in front of them. This lets us know how healthy the fish community is and what types of fish are interacting with the reef. We repeat all of these science surveys at several depths and at several sites as we move from island to island conducting our ocean research.
After all of the data is collected and analyzed, we write it up and give it to the interested parties in every country that we visit. By conducting the same scientific surveys using the same methods on every dive we are able to compare our observations form one site to another. This lets us see the differences in reef health and resilience between sites, reefs, islands and even countries.
Published in Diversity, January 2019 By Garrett B. Johnson, Brett M. Taylor, William D. Robbins, Erik C. Franklin, Rob Toonen, Brian Bowen, and J. Howard Choat Abstract The structure and dynamics of coral reef environments vary across a range of spatial scales, with …
This Aitutaki COTS Outbreak Report was prepared for the Government of the Cook Islands and local Stakeholders by the Living Oceans Foundation Chief Scientist who conducted the Cook Islands mission of the Global Reef Expedition in 2013. Mitigating the Impacts of …
This article on the foraging mode of the gray reef shark published in Coral Reefs journal was a result of research conducted by William Robbins and Capt. Phil Renaud during the Global Reef Expedition missions to French Polynesia. Foraging mode of the grey …
This article on how El Niño’s warmth devastates reefs worldwide, published in Science magazine, references Living Oceans Foundation Coral Reef Ecologist Alex Dempsey and focuses on the impact to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) which the Foundation surveyed as part of …