So what is the EcoDiver program?
EcoDiver is an unique Reef Check program designed to expand the monitoring of reefs by leveraging recreational divers as monitors. Reef Check is an international non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs.
To become a certified EcoDiver, potential applicants must take the 3-day EcoDiver certification course and pass a PowerPoint ID test (80%) and field test (90% to pass) to obtain a regional certification card (different regions have different tests, likely due to different species a diver must learn). Once certified, EcoDivers can submit MS Excel data sheets to Reef Check headquarters for the purpose of monitoring reefs in regions the EcoDiver is certified for.
According to Reef Check’s website:
Using the globally standardized scientific protocol, the Reef Check EcoDiver program collects valuable data to establish the status of coral reefs world wide. The data are analyzed and used locally by marine park managers, nationally by fisheries and environment managers and internationally by organizations including United Nations agencies to help better track and care for coral reefs
Certified EcoDivers have the opportunity to participate in Reef Check EcoExpeditions – week-long+ expeditions to various coral reef locations such as the Maldives, Oman, and Honduras – where EcoDivers will work alongside scientists to help survey reefs.
EcoDiver is an interesting approach to reef conservation and monitoring, wouldn’t you say?