CoralWatch is a non-profit organization, built on a research project at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. It is their aim to provide hands-on monitoring and education tools to increase awareness of reef threats and encourage behaviour change towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
Their main research tool is the Coral Health Chart. This Chart is basically a series of sample colours, with variation in brightness representing different stages of bleaching/recovery, based on controlled experiments. It is an inexpensive, simple, non-invasive method for the monitoring of coral bleaching and assessment of coral health. In the field, users simply compare colours of corals with colours on the chart and record matching codes. With the help of the Health Charts, anyone in the world can monitor the health of any reef across the globe.
CoralWatch database provides up-to-date data on reef conditions worldwide. They continually need more data to measure trends and improve their understanding and capacity to conserve reefs.
They collaborate with Project AWARE Foundation, a non-profit environmental organisation working with divers to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. Project AWARE have registered over 1,000 CoralWatch operators worldwide, making it easy for divers and snorkelers to get involved.
The chart was developed in 2002 by scientists at the University of Queensland, Australia. World leading vision and colour experts at the former VTHRC (Vision, Touch and Hearing Research Centre) and world leading coral experts at CMS (Centre for Marine Studies) collaborated and developed a method of coral health monitoring which uses simple colour charts, similar to paint colour matching charts.
Current attempts to monitor coral bleaching often involve costly satellite-born technologies, are restricted to locations researchers are working in and often require sampling of live tissue for physiological analysis. This coral reef monitoring approach using colour charts is the first attempt to provide useful data on a relatively large scale with the help of an inexpensive, ‘user friendly’ and non-invasive device.
The colour charts can be used by anyone – divers, scientists, school children & tourists.
*You can request a free DIY Coral Health Monitoring Kit by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org or clicking on the link on their Home Page.
The chart is currently available in English, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.
As part of an Eco Internship, you would learn and have access to collect data for the Coralwatch programme.