The Transect Line – September 2008
  Newsletter Highlights
Vote For Your Favorites- Only 2 Days Left! Create Your Own IYOR Song Video and Win $1000!
Tickets on Sale Now for Reef Rescue 2008! New Items Available in the Reef Check Sea Store
Reef Check California Update International Year of the Reef Update
Reef Check in Timor-Leste The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count: November 2 – 8, 2008
Reef Check Australia Positions Available Wine Bar Tour With Reef Check and Las Olas Wine!
  Vote For Your Favorites- Only 2 Days Left!

Only 2 days remain until finalists are chosen in Reef Check’s International Photo Contest “What Do Reefs Mean To You?”! Visit to vote for your favorites in each of our six categories. It's a tight race in many of the categories, with just a few votes separating the top photos. Voting ends September 30th!

  Create Your Own IYOR Song Video and Win $1000!

Reef Check, Body Glove, and Reef Lab are hosting an International Singing Contest on Video featuring the “Year of the Reef” song. The goals of the contest are to celebrate the International Year of the Reef and engage as many young people as possible in learning about the marine environment.

First Place: One US $1000 cash prize

Second Place: One US $600 cash prize

Third Place: One US $400 cash prize

The contest is free to enter, and people from all countries and territories are encouraged to participate. Participants must be no more than 18 years old by the entry date and part of a group of three or more. The submission deadline has been extended so contestants can now submit videos until December 31, 2008 to coincide with the last day of the International Year of the Reef 2008. The public will be able to vote for their favorites starting January 21, 2009.

Visit for more information.

 Tickets on Sale Now for Reef Rescue 2008!

Our 2008 Reef Rescue Gala will take place at 7pm on November 15th at the beautiful Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. The evening begins with a Silent Auction among the exotic fish in the Tropical Tanks- enjoy a Hawaiian hula exhibition along with Island cocktails and pupus while bidding on fantastic high-end and ocean-themed auction items. Following the cocktail hour, dine at International food stations while Scuba Divers explore a three-story high rocky reef tank. Interact with exhibits celebrating the cultural diversity of reef nations from around the world. Adorn yourself with Fijian tribal body art, listen to the captivating sounds of an Australian didgeridoo, and encounter some of California’s great surf icons…Then, hold onto your tank! It’s a live auction featuring thrilling auctioneer, Tere Morris! A celebration follows of 2008’s Spirit of the Reef Award honoree Greg MacGillivray, creator of films such as “Five Summer Stories” and “IMAX Coral Reef Adventure”. The fun continues as guests mingle and explore the exhibits from California and coral reef nations.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Don’t think you can make it to the Reef Rescue Gala this year? Think again! In preparation for the event, Reef Check and have created a special contest. By registering on, you automatically receive a chance to win a roundtrip ticket to Los Angeles for Reef Rescue 2008. The winner will also receive hotel accommodations for three days and two nights, a VIP ticket to the event, and gear from and Reef Check.

  New Items Available in the Reef Check Sea Store

Our Indo-Pacific Underwater Reef Guide is back in stock! More than just a standard fish ID card, the Reef Check Underwater Field guide has photos and key facts on over 50 different reef species, allowing you to fully explore and understand life on the world’s coral reefs. There is also a slate and pencil so you can record what you see and then submit your results on the Reef Check website.

Also available are pre-printed underwater data slates for the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Each double-sided slate includes substrate and organism belt data sheets that correspond to the regional sheets available for the tropical coral reef monitoring program.

  Reef Check California Update

The best diving weather of the year is upon us and RCCA divers are surveying like crazy up and down the state!! We have checked off an amazing 46 surveys to date and are on schedule to have the biggest survey year yet. On the marine management front, we have been actively engaging with the Marine Life Protection Act and Marine Protected Area (MPA) Monitoring Enterprise to ensure RCCA data are being used to inform the management of MPAs in California. We also continue to work with the California Department of Fish and Game in developing mechanisms to include RCCA data in stock assessments, when appropriate, and generally to be readily available for marine managers to use in helping to inform their decisions.

Check out the details on the great surveys we completed in September:

Cen Cal- Sunday 9/21/08- Spooners, SLO- Great Start!!!
Nor/Cen Cal- 9/27/08 Saturday- Lobos Charter
LA: SUCCESS!!! WELL DONE: 9/6/08 Mega Malibu Boat Charter (photos at Mega Malibu Survey September 6, 2008)
SB Refugio Survey Sunday 9/28/2008

We continue to be on the front lines of improving marine management in California but we still need your help! Your donations to RCCA go directly to supporting the collection of the critical data needed to keep the management of California’s marine resources sustainable. If you aren’t already a Reef Check member, join us, and if you are a diver, sign up for a 2009 training!

  International Year of the Reef Update

People all around the world are working to promote reef conservation through the International Year of the Reef 2008 campaign. Mohammad Ghavasi, for example, organized the Marine Biology Association at Khoramshahr Marine Science & Technology University in Iran. In June, in cooperation with university students, he held a special event as part of the Coral Reef Protection program to support the International Declaration of Reef Rights. During this activity, he printed copies of the Declaration in English and Persian and distributed them to students along with a form to provide their names and e-mails. Mohammad was trained in the Reef Check methodology in April 2007 in Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.

The Brazilian NGO PRO-MAR is holding the seminar “Ano Internacional dos Recifes de Coral” (which translates into IYOR) in Itaparica, Brazil on October 27, 2008 from 9 AM – 6 PM. During the seminar, researchers, NGOs, and government institutions will learn about the development of the National Program for Monitoring the Brazilian Reefs based on Reef Check Brazil, the experimental management of reefs in Itaparica/Bahia/Brasil, achievements and advances in experiments on the conservation of reefs, and Marine Protected Areas. For more information, please visit or contact Andrea Ventura at or (71) 8816-7475.

As part of the IYOR, the Oceanarium in Bournemouth, England, will be holding special talks focused on coral conservation during Surf Week from October 25 to November 2, 2008. Please contact Charlotte Brown at or visit for more information.

Reef Check is celebrating the IYOR with international photography and Singing Contests… participate! Read more about these contests in this newsletter.

Like the people in the above countries, you too can help protect and rehabilitate reefs in your country of residence by either organizing your own event or joining existing IYOR activities. Visit the for more information.

Have you signed the International Declaration of Reef Rights?
Join the 12,528 ocean lovers from 144 countries who already have!

Click here to sign the International Declaration of Reef Rights

Click here to find out what others around the world are saying about the International Declaration of Reef Rights

  Reef Check Teams in Action

Reef Check in Timor-Leste
by Shane Penny

Since independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has continued to juggle a sudden influx of income from natural energy resources and persistent wide spread poverty, whilst until recently, neglecting marine and coastal resource management and science. Timor-Leste lies within a hotspot area of marine biodiversity known as the Coral Triangle with reefs along the northern and eastern coasts of the country, as well as Ataúro Island. Coastal villages rely heavily on seafood from the nearby coral reefs for protein and as a source of material for construction and curios. The only assessments of marine and coastal habitats in Timor-Leste were a single FAO funded project (2002), Timor-Leste's first Reef Check survey (conducted at Ataúro Island in 2004 by a Singaporen team), and a PhD project researching the management and use of coral reef resources by communities on Ataúro Island (2006).

Dr. Leo Dutra (CSIRO) and Shane Penny (Northern Territory Government) have been working on coral reef conservation projects in Timor-Leste since 2006. They are currently working collaboratively with the Timor-Leste Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and Charles Darwin University on a program to support sustainable coastal and marine development and management through capacity-building and broad-scale marine habitat mapping. In 2007, Leo and Shane successfully trained 4 divers and 8 snorkelers from MAF in Reef Check methodologies, and in August 2008 they worked with the newly formed Timorese Reef Check dive team in the establishment of their first monitoring site in Behau, 41 km east of Díli.

Timor-Leste is known by a small number of divers for its relatively pristine and readily accessible coral reefs. The first surveys by the new Timorese Reef Check team show no indication of obvious anthropogenic damage, bleaching or disease to the corals. However, their data do indicate an obvious lack of large predatory fish and macro-invertebrates such as giant clams and crayfish. Members of the Reef Check team have recently published an article about the status of Timor-Leste coral reefs in the forthcoming report Status of Coral Reefs of the World – 2008.

Leo and Shane would like to congratulate the following divers and snorkelers for completing the Reef Check EcoDiver course: Mr. Carlos A. de Jesus, Mr. Anselmo L. Amaral, Mr. Celestino B. da Cunha, Mr. Wayne Lovell (Free Flow Diving), Mr. Narciso Carvalho, Mr. Constâncio S. Silva, Mr. José Nunes, Mr. Lucas Fernandes, Mr. Benedito Trindade and Mr. José Monteiro.

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count: November 2 -8, 2008

Help celebrate and record Fiji’s amazing coral reef biodiversity, have fun and show you care about our world’s delicate coral reef systems; take part in a week-long hunt for the Great Fiji Butterflyfish!

2008 is the International Year of the Reef, and the whole world is going coral reef crazy! Countries across the globe are holding special activities and programs to raise awareness and help conserve the corals and animals that live on them.

Fiji’s special activity is The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count. In November, people from all over the world will come to Fiji to have fun counting Butterflyfish while diving, snorkelling or riding glass-bottom boats, and will contribute their results to a Fiji-wide Butterflyfish Biodiversity project to be published internationally.

This event is supported by the Fiji Government Departments of Tourism, Environment and Fisheries, the Fiji Visitors’ Bureau, and several reef conservation organisations, including Reef Check Fiji. Special tourism promotions will be available during the week of November 2-8.

More information can be found at

Reef Check Australia Positions Available

Reef Check Australia is currently looking for two highly skilled and dedicated individuals to join the team as Science Operations Manager and Business Manager. Please visit for full descriptions of these positions.

Reef Check Australia is also looking for some motivated and independent volunteers to assist with the coordination of the 2009 survey season for their Great Barrier Reef Project. If you want to gain experience in coral reef monitoring and team management, this is an outstanding opportunity! The volunteer placement runs from 15th January to 17th July 2009. Please click here for more information.

  Mark Your Calendars

Orange County Coast Wine Bar Tour With Reef Check and Las Olas Wine!

Hey Southern Californians, do you have plans for Saturday, November 8th? Now you do! Reef Check is partnering with one of our sponsors, Las Olas Wine, for their 1st annual “Wine Wave” event. From 12pm-6pm, a coach bus will chauffeur you to three Orange County coast wine bars to taste wine, snack, socialize, and help raise money for Reef Check! You will have the opportunity to win great items in a silent auction and will receive a free bottle of Las Olas Wine to take home. Click here for more information and to download your registration form. Sign up soon because space is limited!