In the week leading up to Christmas the island of Koh Tao & Crystal Dive played host to its first Reef Check Training of Trainers programs.
Reef Check is a worldwide eco-monitoring program helping to develop ‘citizen scientists’ to collect data to help scientists and other parties determine the health of the world’s coral reefs. We were joined by Reef Check scientist Suchana ‘Apple’ Chavanich for some of the classroom sessions. It was great having Apple present for some of the course to answer some of the more in-depth questions and provide some further information on the role of Reef Check in Thailand and worldwide.
During the course Instructors undertook detailed classroom lectures on organism ID and its role in the ecosystem before diving on local reefs. During the dives new instructors were given the reigns to manage and coordinate the relevant surveys to confirm they would be capable of handling this role in the future.
Reef Check Trainer Nathan Cook threw some potential problems at students to check their proficiency in addressing and correcting problems.
People often ask whether the reef is good or bad based on our data but long term monitoring is designed to indicate changes over time so causes can be identified and solutions developed when problems do arise.
Congratulations to participants in the course including Crystal Dive instructors Nicolas Hebrant & Liran Barkan, Chad Scott of Marine Conservation Koh Tao and Hariharan Lyyappan from India.
On the final afternoon we headed to a local dive site, Twins where our new instructors took control of a full Reef Check survey which has been submitted to Reef Check Headquarters as part of the worldwide database.
Reef Check International www.reefcheck.org
Eco Koh Tao www.ecokohtao.com
Crystal Dive www.crystaldive.com