Reliability and utility of citizen science reef monitoring data collected by Reef Check Australia, 2002-2015

Terence Done, Chris Roelfsema, Andrew Harvey, Laura Schuller, Jocelyn Hill, Marie-Lise Schläppy, Alexandra Lea, Anne Bauer-civiello, Jennifer Loder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Reef Check Australia (RCA) has collected data on benthic composition and cover at > 70 sites along > 1000 km of Australia's Queensland coast from 2002 to 2015. This paper quantifies the accuracy, precision and power of RCA benthic composition data, to guide its application and interpretation. A simulation study established that the inherent accuracy of the Reef Check point sampling protocol is high (<± 7% error absolute), in the range of estimates of benthic cover from 1% to 50%. A field study at three reef sites indicated that, despite minor observer- and deployment-related biases, the protocol does reliably document moderate ecological changes in coral communities. The error analyses were then used to guide the interpretation of inter-annual variability and long term trends at three study sites in RCA's major 2002–2015 data series for the Queensland coast.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-155
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume17
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2017

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