RLS applies globally standardised underwater visual census (UVC) methods developed over 30 years of shallow reef biodiversity research. These methods are applied by all RLS divers no matter where in the world they undertake a survey, and thus allow for direct comparisons to be made between any sites surveyed by RLS.
Our survey methods involve divers recording fish and invertebrate species seen along underwater transects using underwater pencils & paper.
Although not high-tech, when undertaken by experienced surveyors, these methods allow coverage of species not able to be recorded by other methods, and are both cost- and time-effective. Photographs are also taken of the coral or seaweed cover on each survey.
The complete methods cover the majority of plans and animals greater than 2.5cm in length that make up the life of rocky and coral reefs.