Assessing national biodiversity trends for rocky and coral reefs through the integration of citizen science and scientific monitoring programs


Reporting progress against targets for international biodiversity agreements is hindered by a shortage of suitable biodiversity data. We describe a
cost-effective system involving Reef Life Survey citizen scientists in the systematic collection of quantitative data covering multiple phyla that can
underpin numerous marine biodiversity indicators at high spatial and temporal resolution. We then summarize the findings of a continentaland decadal-scale State of the Environment assessment for rocky and coral reefs based on indicators of ecosystem state relating to fishing,
ocean warming, and invasive species and describing the distribution of threatened species. Fishing impacts are widespread, whereas substantial
warming-related change affected some regions between 2005 and 2015. Invasive species are concentrated near harbors in southeastern Australia,
and the threatened-species index is highest for the Great Australian Bight and Tasman Sea. Our approach can be applied globally to improve
reporting against biodiversity targets and enhance public and policymakers’ understanding of marine biodiversity trends.

Publication type

Journal Article


Stuart-Smith, R.D., Edgar, G.J., Barrett, N.S., Bates, A.E., Baker, S.C., Bax, N.J., Becerro, M.A., Berkhout, J., Blanchard, J.L., Brock, D.J., Clark, G.F., Cooper, A.T., Davis, T.R., Day, P.B., Duffy, E., Holmes, T.H., Howe, S.A., Jordan, A., Kininmonth, S., Knott, N.A., Lefcheck, J.S., Ling, S.D., Parr, A., Strain, E., Sweatman, H. & Thomson, R.










Subscribe to the RLS Newsletter to stay up to date on the latest RLS news, field activities & research.
Subscribe to Newsletter
Supported by The Ian Potter Foundation
The Minderoo Foundation
Website Design by Forte Web Design
website design by Forte Web Design
downloadlink linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram