There are in fact many research and monitoring techniques available to local reef managers. Some are very simple, and can be conducted by swimmers or divers with only a half hour of training, others are very complex or expensive and are usually only used at the University or professional research level. In the case of the more broadly accessible methods, the basic techniques are the same, but each location or group will alter them slightly to fit their needs or unique location.
Generally monitoring will be both for the living organisms and for the physical conditions of the area (i.e. water sampling analyses). This article is more focused on how divers and local reef managers can evaluate the health, biodiversity, and abundance of their reefs. You can also click here if you want to learn more about water testing techniques.
The list below gives an overview of some of the general techniques used in coral reef monitoring and research, as well as some of the applications of each. Readers more interested in actually practicing these techniques would be advised to also visit the GEFCORAL website which has many great manuals freely available for download by reef managers.