Making the Grade: How we grade coral reefs

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation recently published our findings on the health and resilience of the coral reefs in the Kingdom of Tonga. The report includes a unique grading scale we developed to indicate the relative health and resilience of the reef. For each survey site we visited in Tonga, we assessed the benthic community and classified the reef as being in “good,” moderate,” or “poor” condition.

This assessment was based on the overall live coral cover, algae, and invertebrate composition of the reef.

Life, Death and Rebirth of a Coral Reef

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What comes to mind when thinking about a coral reef is a colorful undersea garden teaming with life: corals, fish, urchins, starfish,  molluscs, crustaceans, sponges and other animals and plants, many still unknown to science.  French Polynesia coral reefs should …