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

TitleReliability and utility of citizen science reef monitoring data collected by Reef Check Australia, 2002-2015
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDone T., Roelfsema C., Harvey A., Schuller L., Hill J., Schlappy M.L, Lea A., Bauer-Civiello A., Loder J.
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume117
Pagination148-155
Date Published2017/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0025-326X
Accession NumberWOS:000399258600030
KeywordsBenthos; citizen science; Coral monitoring; coral-reefs; cover; Great Barrier Reef,; great-barrier-reef; subtropical reefs
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 (<+/- 17% 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. (C) 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

DOI10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.01.054
Student Publication: 
No
Research Topics: