Welcome to Reef Life Survey
Reef Life Survey (RLS) aims to improve biodiversity conservation and the sustainable management of marine resources by coordinating surveys of rocky and coral reefs using scientific methods, with the ultimate goal to improve coastal stewardship. Our activities depend on the skills of experienced and motivated recreational SCUBA divers, partnerships with management agencies and university researchers, and active input from the RLS Advisory Committee.
RLS thus represents a new concept in marine conservation where scientists, marine managers, and recreational divers work together to maximise the collection, analysis, interpretation and effective use of broad-scale biodiversity information. RLS has established the first global baseline of marine biodiversity using consistent methods, which includes abundance data for over 3500 marine species at more than 2000 sites in 40 countries. This information is now used to track changing ecosystems, allowing managers and scientists to better understand how human society affects the marine environment, and to identify better ways forward to reduce threats.
The Australian Government’s Protected Species and Communities Branch recently asked RLS to run a project involving targeted RLS surveys across SE Tasmania in areas where historical sightings have been made of Ziebells handfish (Brachiopsilus ziebelli) and red handfish (Thymichthys politus). These two species of Brachionichthyid are found only in SE Tasmania and are listed as threatened nationally, and no confirmed sightings have been made of Ziebells handfish in over a decade and only one very small population of red handfish has been known in recent years. Very little is known about these species, and the project effectively involved looking for needles in a haystack! Round, lumpy needles…. and more a seaweed-stack!
At the end of August, a small team of RLS divers gathered for a strategically-located holiday to fill an important gap in the RLS database – Raja Ampat, the global centre of fish diversity.
Over the past 7 years, Reef Life Survey divers have collected data from over 40 different countries, resulting in over 3500 species recorded from over 6000 standardised marine biodiversity surveys. This is what it looks like, so far…
Thank you to all who have been involved in this data collection process, you will agree that it is a pretty impressive achievement!
Produced by Just Berkhout, Antonia Cooper and Justin Hulls
To download and view the latest Reef Life Survey Foundation Annual Report for 2013-14, please click on the link below:
The Reef Life Survey global reef fish dataset that was used for the recent Nature publications (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v506/n7487/full/nature13022.html and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v501/n7468/full/nature12529.html), is now published in a new data journal called Scientific Data, published by the Nature Publishing Group. The dataset itself can be accessed in csv format here.
NewsTasman Peninsula 27 Feb – 2 March Raja Ampat – The global epicentre of marine biodiversity!
PhotosRLS worldwide marine surveys RLS Tropical Survey Expedition – Photos from the east
Here are a few pictures taken by RLS divers during the east coast leg of the Tropical survey expedition. Read More →