Home Reef Watch

Reef Watch is an environmental monitoring program run by the community and coordinated by the Conservation Council of South Australia.
It's a unique and exciting program where hundreds of volunteers work with top marine scientists and educators to gather, collate and disseminate quality information on the status of our marine environment.


Reef Watcher


Upcoming Reef Watch activities

Friday 19th September
7 pm for a 7.30 start

Everyone welcome!

Location: Goodwood Community Centre
Cost: $15 ($10 concession) pay on the night
Catering: BYO food and drinks

Bookings essential - numbers are limited: include table name, captain and contact details. (Limit of 8 people per table.)

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 8223 5155



To celebrate Nature Play Week, Reef Watch is offering a special Reef Ramble for families.

Enjoy a fun time on Aldinga reef, learning about the weird and wonderful creatures that live there. Take a guided ramble and discover the amazing world of life between the tides.

Details: Saturday 27th September, meet at 10.30 am at the Morgan Street car park, Aldinga Beach. Session will finish between 1 - 1.30 pm. Bring your own sun protection, water and close-toed shoes that can get wet.
Bookings essential as places are limited: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 8223 5155 (ask for Alex)


Reef Watch Day

Calling all Reef Watchers!!

This is a fun day for all Reef Watch volunteers, or come 'n' try if you haven't already.

Come and meet some of the Reef Watch team, join us for a snorkel, a BBQ and a chat.

Presentations, specimens and marine scientists make this day one you can't miss.

We are also putting the call out to refresh the Reef Watch committee. The committee needs skills and representation including:

  • marine science
  • volunteer representative
  • community engagement
  • education and communication
The committee is also seeking a new Chair.
Your commitment is four committee meetings per year, which are usually held in the evening at the CCSA office in the city. Committee members are also involved in out of session decision-making, are sometimes requested to comment on Reef Watch documents and also asked to participate in some Reef Watch events.

We will announce the new committee at this event on 30th March.

If you are interested in nominating, please provide a few words about yourself including your background, relevant skills and why you think you would make a good committee member. Please provide your nomination by Friday 21st March 2014 to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Feel free to call Alex if you have any questions about the committee: (08) 8223 5155


New reports finally available!

We know that many of you have been waiting a long time for these reports. If you were one of the hundreds of volunteers who collected data for this research, thank you for your patience and for your valuable time.

We would also like to thank the many organisations who supported us and continue to support us, so that we can get volunteers out into our beautiful marine environment and undertake important research with us.

Western blue groper surveys 2012-2013

At last! The data from volunteer surveys has been analysed and you can download the final report here.

Three key findings are:

  1. A lack of adults in areas outside of the protection zone including at sites where they had been seen previously
  2. The ‘appearance' of adults at a number of sites inside the protection zone since previous surveys
  3. Juvenile recruitment at many sites across the entire State, not just in the western part of SA

Intertidal data analysis 2006-2012

It's been a long time coming but a data analysis of the first 6 years of Reef Watch intertidal monitoring is now available and you can download it here.

Both reports are freely available on the Reef Watch website report page: http://www.conservationsa.org.au/reports.html


Western blue groper: the results of last summer's surveys

Last summer Reef Watch volunteers conducted a series of reef fish surveys at 25 sites across SA, with a particular focus on the iconic western blue groper. These were a follow up from a previous set of surveys conducted between 2002-2005.


Hear the results of our 2012-13 surveys, talk to some western blue groper scientists and learn about our next set of surveys coming up this summer. Presentations and discussion featuring:

  • Dr Simon Bryars, independent marine scientist
  • Dr Scoresby Shepherd, AO, Senior Research Fellow,

Wednesday 23rd October, 6.30 pm

Disability Information & Resource Centre, 195 Gilles St, Adelaide

Drinks and nibbles will be available.

Please RSVP to Alex: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Listen to us discuss Reef Watch on an international webinar!

Webinar recording: Citizen Science for Coastal and Marine Environments

In this webinar (held in July 2013), organisers from three marine citizen science programs in Australia talk about their citizen science experiences and answer questions from participants.

Featured presenters and projects are:

• Alex Gaut of the Conservation Council South Australia. The Reef Watch monitoring program provides recreational scuba divers, snorkelers and others with the skills to gather valuable information about temperate reefs (both subtidal and intertidal). Reef Watch survey methods are scientifically valid and provide data that is comparable with data collected by scientists. Learn more at www.conservationsa.org.au/reefwatch-home.html. Feral or in Peril is building an early warning network of recreational divers, anglers and boaters to help keep track of introduced marine pests that are a potential threat to marine ecosystems as well as local species of conservation concern. Learn more at www.conservationsa.org.au/feral-or-in-peril.html. Monitoring Seas and Inspiring Communities (MOSAIC) is a brand new program starting with two pilot projects to implement citizen science in South Australia's new marine park network.

Gretta Pecl of the University of Tasmania. Range Extension Database and Mapping (Redmap) allows Australians to share sightings of marine species that are ‘uncommon' to their local seas. Over time, Redmap will use this citizen science data to map which Australian marine species may be extending their distribution range in response to changes in the marine environment, such as ocean warming. Learn more at www.redmap.org.au.

• Carla Sbrocchi of the University of Technology, Sydney. Carla is currently completing a research study on the contributions of citizen science in the coastal and marine environment in Australia and will present an overview of her findings.

You can listen to and watch the recording of this webinar here.


Alien species discovered by Reef Watch Intertidal volunteers at Aldinga

Neville Hudson, Reef Watch Intertidal Project Officer and a group from the Conservation Volunteers Australia Summer Program, were undertaking a routine intertidal reef survey on Monday 13th February when a live European shore crab (or green crab as it is also known) was found on the reef 80 metres from the waters edge. On Saturday 25th February the group found a second, smaller, European shore crab in the same vicinity.
Although these are exciting finds for the group this discovery set off alarm bells at BiosecuritySA and SARDI Aquatic Sciences. Dr Marty Deveney of SARDI Marine Pest research said that this was both a disturbing and exciting find as this crab has not been found in large numbers along this part of the coast for over 10 years.
"These crabs could have been the last ones" Marty said. "Or it may be a sign of a population increase". SARDI is looking for a live specimen to test its new DNA technology and is now actively working with Reef Watch to collect and preserve specimens of this species for this purpose.


New Feral or in Peril program resources

A new website based field atlas with reporting function has been developed for the Reef Watch Feral or in Feral program as part of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) Biological Data Recording System. A 35 page Feral or in Peril booklet has also been produced with support from a State NRM Community Grant.

The new website includes a photo upload facility and interactive map to pinpoint the location of sightings with an automatic latitude/longitude entry system. In addition, when one of our ‘red alert' or ‘conservation concern' species is reported, the system can generate an automatic email alert to a range of key stakeholders. This system enables a real time report of a potentially serious threat to the marine environment. Another benefit is being able to map all sightings of our Feral or In Peril species sightings without GIS facilities.
These new resources will contribute to improved reporting to relevant coastal management agencies, which in turn will lead to improved management and health of coastal environments.
The website is expected to be fully functional by May



ConservationSA thanks Internode for its generous support