Reef Check California: Citizen Scientist monitoring of rocky reefs and kelp forests: Creating a baseline for California’s South Coast
In the Citizen Science SCUBA baseline project, citizen scientists and staff in the Reef Check California Program conducted SCUBA‐based surveys of the South Coast MPAs and reference sites to provide a quantitative assessment of rocky reefs and kelp forests.
Divers estimated density, population size, diversity, trophic structure, and biological habitat availability for key fish, invertebrate, and algae species. Researchers also drew on Reef Check California’s existing dataset to provide historical context for ongoing data collection. Data collected as part of this project were used to make recommendations for long-term monitoring. The project also built capacity for cost-effective long-term monitoring through a community network of citizen scientists.