The graph above shows the average coral coverage for selected sites on Koh Tao based on 368 coral reef surveys completed between April 2006 and May 2014. Coral Coverage declined, primarily in Tanote and nearby Ao Leuk, over 2006-2007 due to the construction of a large reservoir. Coverage increased until 2010, when mass coral bleaching reduced the island average from 41.2% to 27.1%. BY 2014 reefs had recovered to their highest levels since 2009, but are now being impacted by another large bleaching event.
By 2014, we have accumulated over 8 years of monthly reef data through the Ecological Monitoring Program. As this dataset grows, it becomes more accurate and important in telling the story of Koh Tao’s reefs. We do our best to publish this data and use it to report with local government groups and stakeholders, such in our reports on Tanote Bay (2008), Tien Og Bay (2014), Ao Mao (2011), or Sai Nuan (2014).
The reefs of Koh Tao are some of the most diverse and abundant in the Gulf of Thailand. Yet like reefs all over the globe they are threatened by the local activities of humans and the global problems of climate change. If a simple answer to the question of ‘how are the reefs doing’ must be given, then it is unlikely to be optimistic. But it is also important to remember that they are not gone yet, and many people are fighting to protect and restore the reefs of Koh Tao. You can learn more about these actions in our Conservation Projects section, or come and help us understand and address these issues by enrolling in one of our conservation courses and internships.