Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Rapid, Large-Scale Reef Surveys for Monitoring and Management: Lessons from the Indian Ocean and the Bahamas

Event Name/Location

International Conference on Scientific Aspects of Coral Reef Assessment, Monitoring, and Restoration, Ft. Lauderdale, April 16, 1999.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



coral reefs, large scale survey, rapid assessment, coral community structure, fish community structure, damage, AGRRA


The methodologies (photo-, line-, video transects, AGRRA) and results of four large-scale reef surveys (Red Sea, South Africa, Arabian Gulf, Bahamas) were compared. In the Red Sea (Hurghada, survey area 200 km) and South Africa (Maputaland, survey area 200 km) line transects were used for coral community and damage description. Results were good but required significant underwater time. It was possible to rank communities according to damage-susceptibility. Fish were not censussed.A second monitoring and management study in the Red Sea (Straits of Gubal to Ras Banas, 450 km) ranked reefs qualitatively in comparison to quantitative data from a representative area using diversity, % coral live cover, % damaged areas, health status, fish diversity and abundance as evaluated by 5 minute point counts. Processing time was short, but data coarse. Arabian Gulf (survey area 50 km) corals were evaluated by line transects and video. Fish were evaluated by 5 minute point counts and 100m transect swims. Percentage and distribution of coral communities and damage were mapped and georeferenced. Acquisition of data required significant financial and technical means. In Andros (Bahamas, survey area 150 km) the AGRRA protocol was used. Time required for data processing and cost were comparable to the quality-ranking in the Red-Sea, but data were better since quantitative. Coral health and reef quality description was as good as in the more costly and/or time-consuming other surveys. All methodologies yielded excellent results, but the AGRRA protocol is the most efficient.



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