Reef Check Draft Protocols

gregorh at gregorh at
Sat Dec 14 11:53:32 EST 1996

Reef Check 1997 Draft Protocols 

Site selection: choose reef sites that are considered to be the 
best available, with high coral cover and dense fish populations. 
Demonstrating anthropogenic impacts at these sites will reinforce 
the message that even the best sites are showing wear and tear. 
Survey locations should be marked on a chart and submitted. 

Basic design: two 20 m long line transects at both 3 m and 10 m 
depth below Chart Datum or low low water, and two 20 m long 
transects at -4 and -11 m depth. The transects should follow the 
designated depth contour one after the other i.e. the -10 and -11 
m transects should not be parallel. Start and end points should 
be separated by 5 m, so the distance between the start of the 
first transect and end of the last will be 20 + 5 + 20 + 5 + 20 
+ 5 + 20 = 105 m. 

Substrate types including coral cover: Point sampling will be 
done along each transect to characterize the substrate types. A 
nail or other sharp object will be tied onto a 1 m long string 
and dropped at each 0.5 m along the line and the substrate type 
under the tip of the nail recorded as follows: 

Hard coral 
Soft coral 
Dead coral (still standing and intact) 
Fleshy seaweed 

The four line transects also will be used as belt transects and 
surveyed for indicator organisms and objects. Each belt transect 
will have the dimensions of 2.5 m on either side of the transect 
line, or 5 m wide, and (for fish) at most 5 m above the transect 
line. Counts will be made of the following: 

Whole world: 
Diadema long-spined black sea urchins 
Recently broken coral (anchor, blast, divers) (estimate area) 

Tridacna giant clams (give size) 
Trochus shells 
Edible beche-de-mer (sea cucumbers), trepang, holothurians 
Acanthaster (Crown of thorns starfish) 
Triton shell Charonia tritonis 

Queen conch Strombus gigas 
Helmut conch Cassis madagascariensus 

Fish transects: 

The same belt transects will be used as above. A buddy pair of 
divers will do the survey, one behind the other. At least 15 
minutes should have elapsed since the last disturbance prior to 
starting the survey. The leader will swim slowly along the 
transect and then will stop to count and size target fish every  
5 m, and wait at least 5 minutes for target fish to come out of 
hiding, before proceeding to next stop point. 

Target fish: 

Any grouper/coral trout over 30 cm 
Barrimundi cod Cromileptes altivelis 
Sweetlips Plectorhincus spp. 
Humphead (Napolean) wrasse Cheilinus undulatus 
Bumphead parrotfish Bolbometapon muricatum 
(Note: off-transect records of the wrasse and the parrotfish will 
be accepted). 

Nassau Grouper 
Any grouper over 30 cm 
Sweetlips (Haemulidae) 

Gregor Hodgson, PhD 
Reef Check Coordinator 
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 
Clearwater Bay, Kowloon 
Hong Kong 
e-mail: rcgregor at 
Fax: (852) 2358-1582 
Tel: (852) 2358-8568 

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