As a marine conservation organization, monitoring the health of our regional reefs is essential to what we do. Every day, staff and volunteers work hard to survey the reef along 30km of Negros Oriental’s southern coastline, from Dumaguete to Tambobo. Diving in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Non Marine Protected Areas (NMPAs), our volunteers are trained to be able to identify and tally key species whose presence (or absence) and state of health helps us in assessing the current pressure put on that reef and its resilience.
Our methodology uses stratified random sampling to monitor fish, benthic life, substrates, and invertebrates by laying 30m transect lines over continuous patches of reef. For each of our sites, monitoring is conducted across 3 depth ranges and repeated a calculated number of time to increase accuracy. Replicates of each survey per site and depth are completed seasonally (every 3 months) resulting in a minimum of 2,016 surveys per year.
Our volunteers must complete a rigorous training program of 2-4 weeks on species identification and survey methodology to be able to participate in our surveys. It is an outstanding opportunity to learn about marine biology and scientific diving alongside an experienced staff member or intern in small groups. When tested and deemed “survey ready”, volunteers are sent in teams to collect our underwater data in very different sites along the coastline. By diving every day with a mission, volunteers are able to gain great experience and knowledge in diving, appreciate incredible marine life, and be part of a greater cause.