RLS makes the underwater world visible – to scientists, governments, artists, and anyone with an interest in what lives on coral and rocky reefs around the world and how it is all changing. The key is a huge team of SCUBA divers all using the same detailed methods to record the abundance of all conspicuous species observed on reefs. The team uniquely includes a collaboration of professional scientists working alongside citizen scientists, with a mission to provide high quality, unbiased and publicly available information that is used to better inform management, policy and build public knowledge on the status of reefs.

This website provides the starting point to explore a range of invaluable products made possible by RLS:

  • A database of species records with abundance, covering >12 classes of animals from reefs from the Arctic Circle to Antarctic continent, and spanning all ocean basins in between. No other single database, terrestrial or marine, has comparable taxonomic, spatial and temporal resolution.
  • The Reef Species of the World – the most comprehensive global online field guide to reef species. Photographs taken of reef-dwelling animals by RLS divers while surveying the world’s reefs form the basis for this, with occurrence maps and other important information for each species.
  • The latest research on reef biodiversity, including scientific papers, reports to government management agencies and blog posts reporting field activities.

Diver Safety


The Reef Life Survey Foundation promotes safe diving practices at all times. While the RLSF is not a diver training organisation, it encourages it’s active diving members to remember that diver safety is paramount above all else. For more information on the RLSF safe diving practises, please download the Reef Life Survey Foundation Diver Safety Manual here.



Translate »