Ecological Monitoring Program

The EMP is the first step in learning about Marine Conservation. It is, in a way, the Open Water course of Scientific diving. The program is designed to introduce students to marine ecology and equip them with skills to scientifically assess the reef using various sampling and survey techniques, so that they can go on to take their own data and report into our in-house and other open sourced databases.

In order to start the course, students 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

What the course involves

Students will learn techniques and diagnostic features for identifying specially selected reef fish and invertebrate, whose abundance can reflect the health and resilience of a reef. These are known as indicator species, since they indicate to the surveyor details on what might be happening in the ecosystem. Students then learn how to assess the composition of the living and non-living elements that make up the sea floor in order to produce a whole assessment of the the marine ecosystem. Specially, you will learn about the types of living organisms that live on the sea floor, the importance of stability for non-living elements, growth forms of corals and coral health and bleaching. Once students are able to conduct these surveys they must perform the skill at various sites and input the data they find into the Conservation Diver database.


The course includes 5 dives:

  • EMP Fish dive
    • Learn the belt transect technique to survey indicator species of fish
  • EMP Invertebrates dive
    • Learn the belt transect technique to survey indicator species of fish
  • Coral Safari
    • Learn how to identify different living organisms that live on the sea floor and how to determine the growth forms of corals
  • EMP Substrate dive
    • Learn the point-intercept, belt transect technique to survey the composition of the sea floor
  • EMP Assessment dive
    • Perform a full EMP dive assessing either Fish, Invertebrates or Substrate


The course includes 4 knowledge development presentations

  • Marine Ecology
  • EMP Fish
  • EMP Invertebrates
  • EMP Substrate

Students must also read the EMP Manual, complete all chapters reviews 1-8 and pass the EMP exam


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


Expected Course Time: About 20 hours over 3 days

Minimum of 5 dives

Price: $295.00

Note: The course price of this program also includes a copy of the Ecological Monitoring Program Manual 3rd Edition, Chad Scott

Contact us here about booking this course