Long-term observations of reef change

Scientists are still learning about how corals recover after bleaching. Why do some corals recover, and others don’t? What factors help corals recover? We don’t yet know the answers to these questions.

In order to understand why some corals recover and others don’t, scientists need data that show how individual coral reefs change over time. You can help us produce this important data!

Tracking bleaching at a single site, over time:

We want to track coral bleaching at specific sites, see how the bleaching develops, and then see how the corals recover (or don’t) later on. You can help us by re-visiting a spot multiple times, and giving us your reports before, during, and after you see corals bleach.

Here’s what you can do:
1) Upload plenty of reports and pictures of your local reef, even if it looks healthy and unbleached. All data is good data!

2) When/if you see corals bleach, please take a picture with your underwater camera and upload it to this app or to the website, and file a report.

3) If you can, please go back to that same spot a few days, weeks, or months later, take another picture, and upload this new photo. Tell us if you see recovery, algae growth, no change, or something else.

4) If you notice bleaching, and can revisit a site over time, these observations can be particularly valuable.  If you can recognize a specific colony or group of colonies and give it a #colony.name in the messages and track it over time, this can be an especially valuable set of observations.  Different colonies can respond differently over time, so the more information we have on them the better.  If you see bleaching and are able to,  Adopt a Colony for continued observation!

Submitting pictures to the app or website:
Please submit your photos to the goFlow app or the BleachPatrol website. If possible, please geotag the photo, or provide coordinates manually.

Submitting videos to YouTube:
You can also take a video and upload it to YouTube. Make sure to tag the video #bleachpatrol, so we can find it and use it for our research.


Scientists and reef managers are very interested in repeated, long-term observations of specific locations (“longitudinal” reports). You can help us build new, valuable datasets that track changes in coral reef health over time. These observations may help us better understand how to protect corals in the face of rising ocean temperatures and changing climate.