Using the Ko‘a card is easy! There are only 4 basic steps:

  1. Select survey method
  2. Record coral shape
  3. Record coral color
  4. Report data!

Survey Methods

Resource managers, agencies, and other organizations may utilize the tool however you see fit to accommodate your own current surveys, the following two survey methods are only suggestions:

  1. Transect method– Survey 10 corals along a 30 foot transect line, recording coral information every 3 feet along the line

2. Haphazard method– Survey 20 individual coral colonies chosen randomly. In order to prevent bias, some tips to help randomize your selection may include pre-determining your bearings, establishing distance between coral selection, or closing your eyes and swimming a certain number of finkicks before opening your eyes and selecting the first coral you observe.

Coral Shape

Knowledge of coral species is not required in order to use our Ko‘a assessment tool. Just a general understanding of coral morphology is sufficient, there will be four different shapes to select from:

  1. Branching
  2. Mounding
  3. Encrusting
  4. Plating

coral shapes

Coral Color

Select the color that best represents the whole colony! A coral colony is not always one uniform color, branched tips are usually lighter in color.

coral color

Report Data

Please report data to the PacIOOS website: You can share your photos here, view an interactive map of bleaching occurrence throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and select your survey location on a map in order to retrieve GPS coordinates!