How is the data used?

  • Survey data is stored and shared via an online reef health database, with summaries accessible to the public and full data sets available for science and research applications. 
  • Each season, we produce regional summary reports to report on findings from across each survey region.
  • We share any urgent findings with scientists and marine managers in a timely fashion to provide an early warning system for relevant changes and disturbances on the reef.
  • Data is also reported to the Reef Check international database. 


Data quality

To increase applications of RCA data for science and management applications, RCA undertook a study to identify how data collection methods and surveyor precision influences the data collected by RCA volunteers (Done et al. 2017). This study measured variation in the standardized Reef Check point-intercept sampling method, including the effect of transect deployment, site characteristics, and different observers collecting data.

The study revealed high accuracy in estimates of benthic cover by trained volunteers (± 93% of the absolute value). Coral cover estimates were shown to be more precise at sites with consistent habitat than sites with very patchy habitat. This evaluation of RCA data limitations, showcases the strength of interpretation for long-term trends and clarifies data utility for suitable applications.