Integrated Coral Reef Citizen Science Program 2.0


The Integrated Coral Reef Citizen Science Program 2.0 project aims to collaborate with existing citizen science organisations utilising complementary reef monitoring projects (Eye on the Reef, Reef Check, CoralWatch, iNaturalist) to expand our knowledge and share information regarding the health of the reef in the Townsville region including Magnetic and Palm Islands.

Reef Ecologic are excited and proud to announce that we have been successful on our application for a Community Reef Protection Grant through the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation for the years 2022 – 2024. (Media Release Link)

Continuing our great work that commenced in 2019, the 2.0 project aims to collaborate with existing citizen science organisations utilising complementary reef monitoring projects (Eye on the Reef, Reef Check, Coral Watch) to expand our knowledge and share information regarding the health of the reef in the Townsville region including Magnetic and Palm Islands. This grant will increase the ability of monitoring groups to work together, support multiple methods and deliver a broader suite of not only ecological, but also socio-economic information from their monitoring activities.

Strategic engagement of Reef stakeholders will improve the involvement and support of local communities in monitoring, protecting, and sustainably using the Reef, through citizen science and associated monitoring programs. We plan to work with a number of local organisations including the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council Reef Check Australia, Coralwatch, GBR Legacy, James Cook Uni  the Museum of Underwater Art and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority through its Eye on the Reef Program.

Check out our Program Video

Download our Interim Project Report from April 2020.

Achievements 2019-2021 (Project 1.0)

396 Reef Surveys at 29 locations covering 46 sites (or transects)

  1. Orpheus Island (Palm Island Group)
  2. Pelorus Island (Palm Island Group)
  3. Fantome Island (Palm Island Group)
  4. Eclipse (Garoogubbee) Island (Palm Island Group)
  5. Havannah Island (Palm Island Group)
  6. Brisk (Culgarool) Island (Palm Island Group)
  7. Alma Bay, Magnetic Island
  8. Geoffrey Bay, Magnetic Island
  9. John Brewer Reef, Offshore Townsville
  10. Lodestone Reef, Offshore Townsville

Number of surveys completed

  • Reef Check Australia Reef Health Surveys              70
  • GBRMPA Reef Health and Impact Surveys              226
  • Coralwatch Coral Health Chart Surveys                   63

Number of participants (by participation days)

  • Staff                                   59
  • Youth Participants              226
  • Indigenous Participants     168 
  • Volunteers                          2000+

Updated August 2022 

Inspiring Young Future Female Leaders in Citizen Science

22 Aug 2022

Reef Ecologic hosted a multi-faceted workshop as part of the conference sharing knowledge and educating the girls from across the region in marine ecology, citizen science activities and methods and techniques to help rehabilitate reef environments. 

Townsville Reef Report

22 May 2021

The Reef Check Australia is proud to share this 2019-2020 regional Annual report for the Townsville region. Over the 2020 financial year RCA volunteers and staff completed 35 surveys across 22 sites at Magnetic Island, Offshore Townsville and in the Palm Island Group. This report is a subset of the full GBR Annual report which covers all of our RCA sites across the GBR.

Reef Blueprint for Local Citizen Science Action

20 May 2021

Over the last two years Reef Ecologic has partnered with citizen science organisations, community members, industry and Traditional Owners to implement and strengthen collaboration across citizen science programs in the Townsville and Palm Island regions.

We collated results from multiple workshops and lessons learned from our project to develop this ‘Reef Blueprint for Local Citizen Science Action

Trinity Bay Clontarf Academy Marine Debris Clean Up

20 August 2020

Reef Ecologic continued their work engaging Indigenous youth from the region hosting 13 students from Trinity Bay College, Cairns in our Reef Resilience Workshop and Clean Up. at Pallarenda beach.

Citizen Scientists Inspired by Reef Experience

14 Nov 2021

The Reef Ecologic Citizen Science and Reef Leadership Workshop was an amazing experience made all the more special by the fact that we were delayed by a couple of weeks due to the recent cyclone threat.

Taking Citizen Science to the Classroom

20 Nov 2020

Over the last four weeks Reef Ecologic has been working with the Stars Foundation at Heatley Secondary College to educate a cohort of year 9 students about coral reefs and inspire them to care about these amazing ecosystems. 

Coral Shows Strong Recovery across the Great Barrier Reef

25 May 2020

Following media reports of widespread bleaching the team was determined to conduct widespread surveys to examine the severity of bleaching at some of our local sites.

Reef Ecologic introduces innovative Reef Resilience Workshop to Townsville Students

22 Feb 2020

In February Reef Ecologic delivered a Reef Resilience Workshop at Townsville State High School.shared knowledge and insights about how to build resilience not only in coral reefs but also within yourself.

Reef Leadership Workshop

12 ocean enthusiasts gathered for the leadership workshop workshop at Orpheus Island Research Station on the central region of the Great Barrier Reef in September 2019. Coordinated by Reef Ecologic in partnership with Reef Check Australia, Great Barrier Reef Legacy and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the workshop aimed to share contemporary scientific knowledge and deliver practical experience on reef surveying.  

Involving an exciting schedule of expert presentations, immersive learning on reef surveying methods and the memorable personal experience of snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, the workshop provided a unique opportunity for participants to enhance their knowledge of reef surveying and understand the role it may be able to play in helping to understand and monitor the changes in coral reefs. 

‘I had a fantastic week! It was so brilliant to be with like-minded people and learning new ways to help conserve the reefs. The emphasis on practical, in water learning was great, a really good way to cement all the classroom information. Can’t wait for the next opportunity to get involved!’ said Reef Check Australia volunteer, Beth Scrivener. 

Newly certified Reef Check Australia surveyor, Susanna Primavesi was inspired by the event. ‘A week full of emotion where we have enriched our scientific monitoring and ecological knowledge. Everyone can make small changes to have less impact on the environment and to save the ocean, the reef and other important and unique habitats.’ 

Christine Roper, science coordinator for partner organisation Great Barrier Reef Legacy said “It was so great meeting other ocean enthusiasts from a variety of backgrounds, to network and discuss opportunities on how we can help monitor and support reef resilience. In addition to gaining valuable practical experience in the field, I left the Reef Leadership Workshop feeling more empowered and equipped with the right tools and knowledge on how I as an individuals can reduce my carbon footprint. I’m looking forward to participating in future opportunities offered through this funding”

“Volunteers and community members often don’t get the chance to experience remote, rarely visited parts of the Reef, so it was great to be able to provide training to at Orpheus Island Research Station” said workshop coordinator Nathan Cook of Reef Ecologic. “Everyone’s passion and enthusiasm for the Reef and appetite to learn was a real credit to the participants and provides an inspiration for future opportunities of community engagement activities like these”. 

Other training and events linked to the project

To be advised for 2020

In partnership with

Reef Ecologic’s experience and passion for sustainable development and logical approach to projects makes them a delight to work with. Their knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef is impressive, built on research, assessments, legislative reviews and importantly regular dives and a love of the sea.

Reef Ecologic is disseminating cutting edge tools for coral reef conservation, and not only building the capacity of coral reef managers from around the globe but also inspiring them to raise their game to the next level.

I have had the honor to work with Reef Ecologic in March 2017. They have excellent and profound knowledge of the marine life especially in coral reef.I am very grateful with their help in our coral reef conservation project in Nha Trang City, Vietnam.