Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2025

Coral reefs occur in more than 100 countries and territories and whilst they cover only 0.2% of the seafloor, they support at least 25% of marine species and underpin the safety, coastal protection, wellbeing, food and economic security of hundreds of millions of people. Despite estimates stating that coral reefs are valued at providing up to US$ 9.9 trillion per year, and support one billion globally, they continue to face mounting threats. Coral reefs are among the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet to anthropogenic pressures, including global threats from climate change and ocean acidification, and local impacts from land-based pollution such as input of nutrients and sediments from agriculture, marine pollution, and overfishing and destructive fishing practices.

Maintaining the integrity and resilience of coral reef ecosystems is essential for the wellbeing of tropical coastal communities worldwide, and a critical part of the solution for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) is an operational network of the International Coral Reef Initiative that aims to provide the best available scientific information on the status and trends of coral reef ecosystems for their conservation and management. The GCRMN is a global network of scientists, managers and organisations that monitor the condition of coral reefs throughout the world. The GCRMN operates through 10 regional nodes.

Call for Data

The flagship products of the GCRMN are the “Status of Coral Reefs of the World” reports. Since 1995, six “Status of Coral Reefs of the World” global reports have been published by the network, with the sixth edition of the GCRMN “Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020” report released in 2021, was the first since 2008, and the first based on the quantitative analysis of a global dataset compiled from monitoring data contributed by more than 300 members of the network. The global dataset spanned more than 40 years from 1978 to 2019 and consisted of almost 2 million observations from more than 12,000 sites in 73 reef-bearing countries around the world.

Given the urgency to conserve coral reefs and the commitments made by countries to 2030, the GCRMN is calling for coral reef monitoring data contributions for the development of its seventh “Status of Coral Reefs of the World” global report which will be released in 2026.

The report will describe the temporal trends of hard coral and algal cover (ideally at the resolution of macro algae, turf algae, and coralline algae) at the global level, providing an update of the “Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020” report.

How to Contribute my Data

GCRMN reports are focused on widely collected indicators that represent the status of coral reefs. For the “Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2025” global report, monitoring data on percentage cover of benthic organisms is being requested. These data can be from consistent, long-term temporal monitoring programs or from one-off spatial surveys (i.e., a single survey in time). Ideally, the GCRMN is looking for the finest spatial level and the finest taxonomic level alongside metadata associated with the data to contextualise and interpret the data.

Data can be contributed if associated with a data paper or data repository, stored on MERMAID or ReefCloud, or if your data are stored in Excel or CSV formats. Moreover, your data do not need to be modified or standardised – the GCRMN will implement a standardisation process with all collated data through the gcrmndb_benthos Code Repository.

Please note, your data will not be made publicly available or shared without your prior permission.

If required, and where the contributor deems necessary, the GCRMN will enter into a formal Data Sharing Agreement (DSA). This DSA will set out the terms and conditions under which the GCRMN can use the contributed data and how the contributor(s) will be acknowledged in the report.

If you are interested in collaborating with the GCRMN for the production of this new global report, and would like further information, please download and review the two documents below:  

Acknowledgements

If data are shared with the GCRMN, contributors will be acknowledged in publications that include the data. This may be as an author or as a data contributor, depending on the level of the contribution and based on accepted authorship criteria, which are specified in the GCRMN Data Sharing Agreement.

The GCRMN aim to acknowledge the work of all people involved in the acquisition of the contributed data, and kindly ask contributors to provide the names (and email addresses, if known) of the contributors who must be acknowledged in GCRMN publications. GCRMN will use a modified version of CRediT statements (https://credit.niso.org/) to describe each contributor’s specific contribution to the GCRMN publication. In addition, contributors could be invited to contribute to the writing and review of some sections of the report, all of which will be acknowledged appropriately.

Webinars for Data Contributors

To support data contributors and provide an overview of the data collation process, as well as an opporuntiy to ask questions, the GCRMN Data Collation team will be hosting two webinars in September 2024

This webinars, held across two timezones, will welcome all who wish to contribute their data to the seventh GCRMN global report. Presentations will be provided on the data collation process, data storage, standardisation and acknowledgements. A large proportion will be set aside for Q&A and open discussion. 

Download and view the agenda (coming soon) and register for the two webinars below. 

Contact and Further Help

If, after reading through the “Guide to Contributors”, you are still not clear on the GCRMN data contribution process, have questions about the process or the GCRMN at-large, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Data Collation team, the GCRMN Coordinator, or the ICRI Secretariat, or via the GCRMN Contact Page.