April 8, 2005
Edited by Mitch Leslie
The world’s reefs are taking a beating from silt buildup, explosives used for fishing, the coral-munching crown-of-thorns starfish, and other threats. Consult this database to find out the condition of individual reefs— some 70% of which are ruined or in jeopardy. Reef Check, a nonprofit based in Pacific Palisades, California, collates reports from volunteers who collect standard data on coral health (Science, 6 September 2002, p. 1622). Click on the barometer at the bottom of the Reef Check home page to search more than 3400 surveys from 1800-plus locales around the world.The records provide information such as ratings of natural and human-caused damage and counts for fishes, invertebrates, and other residents. Tools let you compare reefs and contrast measures of the same site from different times. Above, a moray eel gapes from the safety of a crevice.