What is Reef Check Italia Onlus
Reef Check Italia Onlus is a non-lucrative scientific association dedicated to the protection and recovery of the Mediterranean rocky reefs and of all the tropical areas of coral reefs. Founded in 2008, Reef Check Italia Onlus was born from a partnership between the Reef Check Foundation, the monitoring program of coral reefs officially recognized by the United Nations, and the Underwater Monitoring Project (UMP), designed and proposed in 2016 by a team of researchers from, Genoa, Polytechnic of Marche and Bologna Universities.
Italy is at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, an area classified among the planet’s hot spots of biodiversity, characterized by a high number of endemic species and a high vulnerability. Coastal areas, all over the world, are undergoing an enormous pressure as a result of human activities and climate changes. If we do not want to lose this priceless heritage, without even realizing it, it is fundamental to constantly monitor its health state.
What do we do
Reef Check Italia Onlus involves the public in reef conservation. Our volunteers are recreational scuba divers who, appropriately prepared, observe and verify the health status of the coastal marine habitats of the Mediterranean and tropical coral reefs. Since 2006, our Underwater Monitoring Program for the Mediterranean Sea is based on the collection of presence/absence data of some indicator species, on quantitative surveys in fixed stations by using the technique of squares, and on the measurement of temperature variations along all the Italian coasts.
What is it for?
The goal of our project is to promote local actions to protect the areas that are still not badly damaged and to recover the damaged ones both in the Mediterranean Sea and in all the coral reef areas of the Planet.
Having up-to-date distribution maps of many species allows to evaluate any possible regression or expansion processes. Long term surveys in fixed stations allow instead to evaluate distribution variations at comunity level. This information is fundamental to develop new management plans to evaluate the effectiveness of those already implemented. In addition, knowing the annual variations of temperature along the water column and their possible abnormalities allows to identify the areas most exposed to massive mortality phenomena.