Research and Monitoring

The heart of any conservation or resource management program is good research. Careful research and long-term monitoring is vital to know:
  • What are the important living and non-living components of the ecosystem we are managing?
  • What is the current health, abundance, and biodiversity of the reefs?
  • How does the reef change over time (for good or bad)?
  • What threats are present?
  • What can be done about those threats?
  • Did the action work, and how could the project be improved in the future?
Most of the research at the NHRCP falls under the Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP). This program is designed to provide detailed and readily available long-term data for biodiversity, abundance, and health of our local reefs. Data for this program is collected along permanent transects in 11 locations around the island for fish, invertebrates, substrate, and corals (see bottom of page for statistics on our research program and other info). We try to visit each site once per month, and have a database going back over 10 years. In addition to data collection, participants in our program will also be certified in Conservation Diver Ecological Monitoring Program if they fulfill the requirements.

A map of the sites surveyed on a regular basis through our Ecological Monitoring Program from 2006-to present.

But research doesn’t end at the EMP, we also have many other specific monitoring programs for seahorses, giant clams, sea turtles, coral nurseries, drupella snails, Crown of Thorns, and in fact, all of our current projects also have a research aspect or component.
The world of scientific diving is not only fun, informative, and rewarding; but it can also open doors for future school or career opportunities. Through our program divers can be learn about and be certified in a wide range of internationally recognized research diver programs, including:
  • Conservation Diver Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP) for invertebrates, fish, and corals.
  • Coral Reef Ecology and Monitoring
  • Coral Taxonomy and Identification
  • Coral Diseases Monitoring and Identification
  • Advanced Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP)
  • Artificial Reef Theory and Techniques
  • Coral Nursery Theory and Techniques
  • Mineral Accretion Device Basics and Techniques
  • Giant Clam Nurseries and Population Studies
  • Coral Predators Population Monitoring and Management
  • Sea Turtle Ecology and Head-starting Program
  • Shark Ecology and Population Studies
  • Nudibranch Ecology and Identification
  • Seahorse Ecology and Monitoring
  • Mooring Line Maintenance and Installation
  • Coral Spawning and Larval Culturing Program for Reef Restoration
  • And much more.......

The basic techniques for the EMP program are easily modified, when necessary such as in the case of bleaching events, disease outbreaks, boat groundings, or other disturbances. During the mass coral bleaching event of 2010 our program collected vary detailed information on the extant of bleaching, temperatures, recovery, mortality and more, down to the genus level of the corals. Many of our interns have also used the EMP data as the foundation of their master’s degrees, PhD Thesis’, or bachelors projects. You can find many of these interesting projects and scientific publications on our student publications page.Also be sure to check out our page on the Status of the Coral Reefs of Koh Tao for more information coming out of the EMP program.

As we continue to monitor the reefs of Koh Tao, trends are emerging that suggest our islands resilient coral genera are becoming more dominant, while those most threatened by Climate Change and its associated bleaching events are becoming less expressed across our reefs.

  • Phone

    New Heaven Dive School office 9am-7pm: +66 (0) 77 457 045

  • Email

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  • Address
    48 Moo 3 Chalok Baan Kao
    Koh Tao, Surat Thani
    84360, Thailand
Copyright 2016
New Heaven Reef Conservation Program