Reef Check California Monitoring Protocol
Reef Check California Abalone Protocol
Reef Check California Data Sheets
Reef Check California 2013 protocol updates
Reef Check California 2011 protocol updates
*Reef Check California 2007 Protocol Changes*
Reef Check Quality Assurance/Quality Control Procedures (QA/QC)
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the California Department of Fish and Game and the Reef Check Foundation
Exhibit A – Reef Check California Monitoring Protocol
Exhibit B – Reef Check QA/QC Procedures
The Reef Check California monitoring program has been designed to assess the relative abundance and size distribution of target species and how these parameters are changing over time. This will permit the evaluation of population and community attributes at sites inside and outside of existing and proposed Marine Protected Areas and will provide insight into how different sites respond to newly imposed management measures.
Based on the Department of Fish and Game's CRANE monitoring program, sites will contain three core 30 meter transects in each of two habitat zones (offshore and inshore reef), with a maximum depth limit of 18 m (~60') (see figure). At these core transects, divers will assess fishes, invertebrates, seaweed and substrate. In addition to the 6 core transects, divers will survey 12 fish- only transects that are distributed across the site (6 offshore and 6 inshore).
|A standard Reef Check California survey at each site will include:
|While anyone can participate in Reef Check California programs, only divers with an established record of diving and who have completed the training and demonstrated proficiency in survey methods and species identification will be eligible to contribute data to the database.|
Rather than monitor every organism we encounter, a list of indicator organisms has been developed to serve as a proxy for the overall biodiversity of a survey sitde. The Reef Check California shallow subtidal species list was compiled based on the following criteria:
Following extensive field testing, the draft species list was revised and the Final Reef Check California species lists were created containing 31 species and 1 order of invertebrates, 35 fish species, 8 species and 1 genus of algae.
Reef Check California will not have separate target species lists for distinct geographic regions in California. Although we recognize the distinct biological breaks along the California coast and associated differing composition of species, separate species lists would limit the ability of the monitoring program to detect subtle shifts in target species geographic ranges. In addition, a single species list will permit volunteers trained in any part of the State to participate in surveys along the entire coast.
A panel of scientific, agency, and recreational diving experts was convened to review the draft protocol to ensure the sampling design, methods, and species list were scientifically sound and appropriate for volunteers. Extensive field testing was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of the monitoring program and assess the ability of volunteer divers to implement the protocol in a variety of locations and conditions. Field testing took place in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara, Palos Verdes, and Santa Catalina Island and included over 20 divers encompassing a range of diving and research abilities. Following field testing and scientific review, the program was revised and the final version adopted.
|List of reviewers: