The VitaReef Program

The VitaReef program was established in order to provide a standardized method of characterizing the conditions of reef corals. It can and has been used by both researchers and non-scientists to document observations of reefs at specific points in time, which can be followed up in subsequent observations to assess changes in the state of individual coral colonies, selected coral species, or a reef as a whole.

We would be happy to share a copy of the VitaReef program at no cost to any researcher who is interested in using the method.  Please email Phil Dustan to receive a PC version that will run in DOS.

VITAREEF CODES for BELIZE: (Assessment [code])

Unblemished (healthy) [2]
Colony Almost Unblemished [18]
Excessive Sediment on Live Tissue [6]
Sediment Damage with Tissue Necrosis [12]
Edge Damage (inner or outer edges; from filamentous algae trapping sediment) [4]
Obvious Algal Mat Smothering (extensive overgrowth by filamentous algae) [11]
Healed with Secondary Algal Colonization [14]
Overgrowth by Macroalgae (may be either complete or partial) [16]
Overgrowth by Invertebrates (e.g., sponges, tunicates; complete or partial) [19]
Damage to Tissue Only (biological predation - e.g., snails) [7]
Fresh Damage to Tissue and Skeleton (e.g., fish bites, diver damage) [5]
Excess Mucous on Surface [9]
Tissue Bleaching (white areas resulting from expulsion or death of zooxanthellae) [8]
Black Band Disease - active (a disease originating from a blue-green alga) [10]
White Plague Disease (a disease originating from bacteria) [13]
Colony Decreasing in Size [17]
Damaged but Healed [3]
Recently Dead Colony (whole colony only) [15]

VitaReef Image Sets

Go to Top.

Return to Coral Reef Ecology homepage.