Vitareef Software to assess coral vitality

Phillip Dustan pdustan at
Wed Jul 30 15:09:17 EDT 1997

        A number of peple have asked about the availability of Vitareef software. 	Below is a short description of Vitareef and what it might do for you. 
Vitareef  can be a powerful tool for assessing thepresent  condition of a reef coral community.  Vitareef software is not used to assess percent cover from transect data of any sort. However, it can be used on video imagery to help you gather data on the 
conditions of corals.
        Should you are interested in analyzing video transect data, PointCount for Corals will be available sometime early in the fall.  Information on Vitareef, PointCount for Corals, and additional info on coral conditionscan be found at

                                                                Phil Dustan

The term vitality refers to the degree to which organisms of the reef ecosystem can carry out their natural life functions. Surveying coral populations for signs of distress and tissue or skeletal damage gives insight into coral health on a colony-by-colo
ny basis. An underlying assumption to the interpretation of survey data is that an undamaged coral will not need to allocate metabolic energy for tissue and skeletal repair and regrowth, while a "less than perfect" colony will need to allocate resources t
oward "repair" in the most general sense instead of new growth and reproduction. Temporally spaced surveys provide a basis for detecting change in reef coral populations and predicting the future condition of reef coral populations (Dustan 1993).

The field technique is a fast, comprehensive survey technique that allows a group of investigators to gather data in a format that can later be subjected to multivariate statistical probing techniques. The condition of each coral is observed by a diver an
d described with numerical codes that provide as complete a description of the state of a colony as possible through direct observation.  The code is adaptable and can be modified if new conditions are found during surveys.  The field data is entered into
 a spreadsheet format and then converted to simple ASCII which is submitted to vitareef.
        You can edit each of the data files for species names, locations, even conditions. The most current version (VITA1997) runs in DOS 3 or higher, but perhaps lower too.  I am working on a Windows version for 3.1 and Win95 for relaes sometime this fa
        If you decide to try Vitareef let me know and I can ftp a copy to you or send you a floppy (any format). 

Dustan, P., 1977. Vitality of reef coral populations off Key Largo, Florida: recruitment and mortality. Environmental Geology 2:51 58.
Dustan, P. 1993. Developing methods for assessing coral reef  vitality: a tale of two scales. Global Aspects of Coral Reefs, June 10 11. University of Miami, pp. M8 M14.

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