Coral Taxonomy and Identification

The Coral Taxonomy and Identification in the next step up from Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP) and a key component of achieving the Advanced EMP certificate. Students are introduced to the skills required to assess coral colony form and coral skeletal anatomy. Students learn how to identify key colony features and provide morphological descriptions in order to taxonomize hard coral findings during the EMP to the genus and species level.


In order to start the course, student must:

  • Hold an advanced diver certification from a leading diving organization such as PADI or SSI.
  • Be 12 years of age or over
  • Be self-aware in the water and demonstrate proficient in buoyancy
  • Complete the substrate survey of the Ecological Monitoring Program

What the course involves

Students will learn how to identify types of colony forms across different species of hard coral. They will need to learn the features of the polyp walls, valleys, texture and shapes in which they grow. Upon analyzing the skeleton on the coral, they will learn how the different skeletal features can be used to taxonomize corals to the species level.  They will learn to assess the whole corallite structure including walls structures, columnella structures, septa and costae structures and features of the coenostreum. This training will require students to undertake lots of self study and dedication so they are able to record the to genus level each coral they see on a EMP survey.


This course includes at least 2 survey dives taking data specifically on coral genera (either during an EMP substrate survey, coral disease survey or specialized coral taxonomy dive).


The course requires attendance of 1 Coral Taxonomy and Identification presentation.

Students will also undertake a number of sessions, practising identifying coral skeletons on land using samples and photographic analysis.

Students must be able to identify at least 10 of the most common coral genera to the region and pass the final exam.

For full details on the course please visit the Conservation Diver website to view the Standards and Requirements


Expected course time about 8 hours

Minimum 2 dives

Price: $145.00

Contact us here about booking this course