This dataset shows the location of Reef Life Survey (RLS) sites surveyed by divers along 50m transects on shallow rocky
and coral reefs, worldwide. Although surveys are undertaken as part of monitoring programs at particular locations (mostly
in Australia), this dataset contains only spatial information, with repeat surveys of sites not included.
Biological data (abundance of invertebrates and fish, habitat quadrats) collected from these surveys is available as separate
datasets through the RLS Data Portal ( http://reeflifesurvey.imas.utas.edu.au/ )
Edgar, GJ and Stuart-Smith, RD and Willis, TJ* and Kininmonth, S* and Baker, SC and Banks, S* and Barrett, NS and Becerro,
MA* and Bernard, ATF* and Berkhout, J and Buxton, CD and Campbell, SJ* and Cooper, AT and Davey, M and Edgar, SC* and Forsterra,
G* and Galvan, DE* and Irigoyen, AJ* and Kushner, DJ* and Moura, R* and Parnell, PE* and Shears, NT* and Soler, G and Strain,
EMA* and Thomson, RJ, “Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features”, Nature, 506
(7487) pp. 216-220. doi:10.1038/nature13022 ISSN 0028-0836 (2014)
Bird, TJ and Bates, AE and Lefcheck, JS* and Hill, NA and Thomson, RJ and Edgar, GJ and Stuart-Smith, RD and Wotherspoon,
S and Krkosek, M* and Stuart-Smith, JF and Pecl, GT and Barrett, N and Frusher, S, “Statistical solutions for error and bias
in global citizen science datasets”, Biological Conservation, 173 pp. 144-154. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.07.037 ISSN 0006-3207
Stuart-Smith, RD and Bates, AE and Lefcheck, JS* and Duffy, JE* and Baker, SC and Thomson, RJ and Stuart-Smith, JF and Hill,
NA and Kininmonth, SJ* and Airoldi, L* and Becerro, MA* and Campbell, SJ* and Dawson, TP* and Navarrete, SA* and Soler,
GA and Strain, EMA* and Willis, TJ* and Edgar, GJ, “Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots
of fish diversity”, Nature, 501 pp. 539-542. doi:10.1038/nature12529 ISSN 0028-0836 (2013)
Mora, C* and Aburto-Oropeza, O* and Ayala Bocos, A* and Ayotte, PM* and Banks, S* and Bauman, AG* and Beger, M* and Bessudo,
S* and Booth, DJ* and Brokovich, E* and Brooks, A* and Chabanet, P* and Cinner, JE* and Cortes, J* and Cruz-Motta, JJ* and
Magana, AC* and DeMartini, EE* and Edgar, GJ and Feary, DA* and Ferse, SCA* and Friedlander, AM* and Gaston, G* and Gough,
C* and Graham, NAJ* and Green, A* and Guzman, H* and Hardt, M* and Kulbicki, M* and Letourneur, Y* and Perez, AL* and Loreau,
M* and Loya, Y* and Martinez, C* and Mascarenas-Osorio, I* and Morove, T* and Nadon, MO* and Nakamura, Y* and Paredes, G*
and Polunin, NV* and Pratchett, MS* and Bonilla, HR* and Rivera, F* and Sala, E* and Sandin, SA* and Soler, G* and Stuart-Smith,
RD and Tessier, E* and Tittensor, DP* and Tupper, M* and Usseglio, P* and Vigliola, L* and Wantiez, L* and Williams, I* and
Wilson, SK* and Zapata, FA*, ‘Global human footprint on the linkage between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in reef
fishes’, Public Library of Science Biology, 9 (4) pp. 1-9. ISSN 1544-9173 (2011)
Edgar, GJ and Barrett, NS and Stuart-Smith, RD, ‘Exploited reefs protected from fishing transform over decades into conservation
features otherwise absent from seascapes’, Ecological Applications, 19 (8) pp. 1967-1974. ISSN 1051-0761 (2009)
Edgar, GJ and Stuart-Smith, RD, ‘Ecological effects of marine protected areas on rocky reef communities - a continental-scale
analysis’, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 388 pp. 51-62. ISSN 0171-8630 (2009)
The RLS data has also been described in a data journal called Scientific Data, published by the Nature Publishing Group:
Edgar, GJ and Stuart-Smith, RD, “Systematic global assessment of reef fish communities by the Reef Life Survey program”, Scientific
Data, 1 Article 140007. doi:10.1038/sdata.2014.7 ISSN 2052-4463 (2014)
An archival version of the RLS reef fish dataset, has been deposited in figshare (Figshare http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.934319)
Data in the RLS global reef fish dataset have been collected by a combination of experienced scientists and skilled recreational
divers, with all divers having either substantial prior experience in reef fish surveys or extensive training in the RLS
methods. Quality control procedures are described in detail in Edgar & Stuart-Smith 2014 and results of an analysis of data
quality differences between volunteer divers and professional scientists are presented in Edgar & Stuart-Smith 2009.
Line transects 50 m in length are laid along a depth contour. Fishes are surveyed in two 5 m wide by 5 m high bands or ("blocks"),
parallel with the 50 m transect line. During the fish survey, the number and estimated size-category of all fishes sighted
within 5 m blocks either side of the transect line, and within a 5 m high ceiling (and 5 m deep floor if applicable, see
section on methods for surveying walls in appendix 2, in manual) is recorded as the divers swim slowly along the block.
Size-classes of total fish length (from snout to tip of tail, or longest distance, including for stingrays) used are 2.5,
5.0, 7.5, 10.0, 12.5, 15.0, 20.0, 25.0, 30.0, 35.0, 40.0, 50.0, 62.5 cm, and above. Lengths of fish larger than 62.5 cm should
be estimated to the nearest 12.5 cm and individually recorded.
GPS location, date, time, depth and visibility are also recorded.
See link to the Methods Manual: A Standardized Survey Procedures for Monitoring Reef Ecosystems, for more information.