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 certified as an Adventure Diver (having conducted the Peak Performance Buoyancy, Navigation, and Deep or Multi-level dives).
  • Be 12 years of age or older
  • Demonstrate proper diving ability at an Advanced Level and be proficient in buoyancy and self-awareness

Check out the training video for more information


  • 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 5 knowledge development presentations
  • Read and complete the chapter reviews for chapters 1-8 of the Ecological Monitoring Program Manual
  • Complete and pass the written exam
  • 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

Note: The course price of this program also includes a printed copy of the Ecological Monitoring Program Manual (Chad Scott, 2019) and the Underwater Identification Slates.

Published Papers and reports related to this course

Related Resources

This Book is also available for purchase through Amazon.com here