Ecological Monitoring Program

The Ecological Monitoring program is designed to give students an introduction to coral reef ecology and how to view the reef scientifically by assessing key biotic and abiotic reef components. The course teaches students how to use real world scientific sampling and reef survey techniques and certifies them to conduct their own surveys and report data back to the online database. Parameters assessed include fish and invertebrate abundance and biodiversity, substrate cover, coral taxonomy, coral diseases, coral bleaching, and more. This course is a prerequisite for many of the other courses offered by Conservation Diver


  • Be 12 years of age or older
  • Be certified as an Advanced diver under a leading diving organization (PADI, SSI, RAID, etc) or an Open Water diver who has satisfactorily completed a buoyancy appraisal with a professional diver
  • Demonstrate proper diving ability at an advanced Level and be proficient in buoyancy and self-awareness


  • Understand more about coral reef ecology and threats to coral reefs
  • Understand various survey techniques used by reef managers to monitor coral reef ecosystems
  • Learn the techniques and diagnostic features for identifying coral reef invertebrates along a permanent transect line
  • Learn the techniques and diagnostic features for identifying coral reef fishes and other vertebrates along a permanent transect line
  • Learn how to assess substrate types and hard coral coverage/growth forms using the point-intercept technique
  • Learn how to assess coral health and bleaching
  • Perform EMP surveys in several different areas and input the data into the database
  • Complete all 3 course exams


  • Attend all knowledge development presentations
  • Complete the e-Learning or read and complete chapter reviews for chapters 1-8 in the EMP manual
  • Enter records into database
  • Perform all three surveys (invert., fish, and substrate) at least once
  • Perform a ‘full EMP’ at least once
  • Enter data onto data sheets or into the online database

Expected course time about 20 hours, minimum of 4 dives

Certification Card

Training Centers

Related Resources

Note: This course has an accompanying textbook what come in a printed and electronic version available for purchase – Ecological Monitoring Program Manual

Published Papers and reports related to this course