[This data has been superseded by a synthesised global dataset which includes additional ecological data contributed by non-RLS entities (National Reef Monitoring Network). Please visit the corresponding NRMN Collection (IMOS - National Reef Monitoring Network Sub-Facility - Global mobile macroinvertebrate abundance) for the most current version of this data. See "Downloads and Links" section below.]
Reef Life Survey is designed to develop and resource a network of skilled recreational divers for rapid and cost-effective assessment of the state of the inshore marine environment at the global scale. The project uses standardised underwater visual census methods employed by trained SCUBA divers to survey fish and invertebrate species and to record habitat type using photo quadrats - this dataset refers to the cryptic fish and invertebrate survey component only.
Maintenance and Update Frequency: irregular
Statement: Line transects 50 m in length are laid along a depth contour. Densities of fishes are recorded along duplicate 50 m x 5 m transects. For this, the diver swims at 2.5 m from the transect line, recording all fish 2.5 m to either side, replicating this for both sides of the transect line. Large invertebrates such as rock lobsters, abalone and sea urchins are recorded within duplicate 50 m x 1 m blocks along the transect. For this the diver searches a 1 m strip to one side of the transect line (brushing away algae, searching crevices etc) recording invertebrates > 2.5 cm, and also recording cryptic fish (that would have been missed in the fish swim).
GPS location, date, time, depth and visibility are also recorded.
A Standardized Survey Procedures for Monitoring Reef Ecosystems is under revision, please contact the project for access (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Program, an Australian Government initiative supporting world class, public good research - Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Marine Biodiversity Hub, a collaborative partnership supported through the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP)
Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania
People and Parks Foundation
Caring for our Country, Community CoastCare Grant
NRM and local management boards around Australia
State Marine Biodiversity Management Agencies around Australia
Trained volunteer diver network
The dataset generated by recreational divers provides a national framework for monitoring the state of the inshore environment and the identification of those threats and locations of greatest conservation concern. The project also increases awareness and interest by the recreational diving community in marine issues, and enhanced scientific capacity of personnel in regional areas.