Coral Reef Ecology & Monitoring

The Coral Reef Ecology & Monitoring Course is a partial fulfilment of the full Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP), for students who do not have time to complete all 5 lectures and 4 dives of the EMP. It 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. Students receiving this certification are welcome to return at a later date and complete the full EMP course.


  • 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
  • Or  the techniques and diagnostic features for identifying coral reef fishes and other vertebrates along a permanent transect line or
  • Or  how to assess substrate types and hard coral coverage/growth forms using the point-intercept technique


  • Attend the Intro to Marine Ecology Lecture, plus at least one other survey lecture (Coral Reef Invertebrates, Fish, or Substrate)
  • Perform at least one of the three EMP surveys  (reef invertebrates, fish, or substrate)

Expected course time: minimum 4 hours, minimum of 1 dive.

Certification Card

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