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Reef Check Australia

Monitoring

Monitoring is where we repeat surveys of the same sites through time. By monitoring coral reef change over time, we gain insight into how reefs respond to human impacts as well as to crown-of-thorns starfish, cyclones and other natural impacts. The longer the study, the more valuable the information becomes.





Ever since coral reefs have existed they have been affected by environmental disturbances, such as cyclones. These disturbances are often sudden and short-lived. Healthy reefs that are damaged in this way tend to recover over 10-20 years. The health of a coral reef is in its resilience to these types of impact. Coral reefs that are not healthy lack resilience and fail or are slow to recover from natural impacts.

Monitoring reefs over a long time helps us to understand whether they have the resilience of a healthy reef, or whether they are in trouble. This also helps scientists to understand what are natural and healthy patterns of change, and what changes should trigger alarm bells.

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