Reef Check California: Applied Ecosystem Monitoring as a Training Tool for AAUS Programs

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Reef Check California: Applied Ecosystem Monitoring as a Training Tool for AAUS Programs

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Title: Reef Check California: Applied Ecosystem Monitoring as a Training Tool for AAUS Programs
Author: Wehrenberg, ML; Freiwald, J
Abstract: Ecosystem-based strategies have become an important aspect of marine resource management in California over the last decade. This development has greatly increased the need for longterm environmental monitoring data to properly assess management outcomes and adapt accordingly. To address this need Reef Check California (RCCA) trains recreational volunteer scuba divers and AAUS scientific divers as citizen scientists to conduct subtidal surveys of the near-shore rocky reefs. RCCA partners with AAUS programs, providing a valuable teaching tool to these institutions while strengthening its statewide monitoring program through the involvement of scientific divers. Currently, RCCA partners with seven AAUS dive programs at universities and aquaria throughout California, training around 60 new AAUS Reef Check volunteers per year. These programs have in turn adopted 13 survey sites and have provided assistance for the remaining 67+ sites surveyed by RCCA. The divers learn fundamental subtidal monitoring techniques while collecting data that is provided to the state’s marine management agencies. These collaborations have made the RCCA protocol one of the prime examples of subtidal research that students in California’s marine undergraduate programs are exposed to. It provides them with the hands on experience of collecting useful data that will serve them well as they go on to develop future research projects.
Description: American Academy of Underwater Sciences (http://www.aaus.org/)
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/10298
Date: 2012

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