Become a Coral Restoration Foundation Citizen Scientist

with the ground-breaking new app

Are you a diver with a passion for coral reefs?

Do you want to be part of the mission to help save coral reefs from extinction?

Well, now you can, as a Coral Restoration Foundation Citizen Scientist!


Using the fun, easy-to-use smartphone app, OkCoral, you can use your recreational dives on the Florida Reef Tract to help us answer vital questions about the health and survivorship of our coral outplants. This data will make a significant contribution to the success of our mission!

Your data will help us begin to answer things like “which reef habitat has greater coral survivorship?” or “are there differences in genotype performances?” and many other questions.

Coral Restoration Foundation Citizen Scientists can be snorkelers or divers. All you need is a smartphone* and a way of recording data or taking pictures underwater!

Play the game

OkCoral quickly brings you up to speed using an intuitive swipe-based game. Playing OkCoral will train you on:

  • Identifying the differences between staghorn and elkhorn corals
  • How to spot the difference between living and dead corals
  • Identifying corals that have grown together and fused, and those that haven’t

Send us your coral cluster pictures

Once you’ve passed all three levels of the OkCoral intro game, you don’t need any more special training; you will be ready to head out and start gathering data for us – either on a slate or in the form of simple photographs!

Through the app, you will be able to send us pictures of any outplanted coral clusters that you find on your dive, along with important information about each one.

The app will guide you through the process, step-by-step. OkCoral will teach you exactly how to find the data we need. OkCoral connects directly to your phone’s picture gallery and prompts you to submit the information that needs to accompany each one. This information includes:

  • Your name
  • The reef name
  • The mooring ball number
  • The date
  • Whether the corals are dead or alive, and fused or not fused
  • The corals’ cluster number and genotype ID

Some of this might sound complicated, but it really isn’t. The genotype and cluster numbers are included on the tags we attach to each coral cluster that we plant on the reefs. All you need to do is find them record your data. You can do this directly in the app, or write it on a slate and enter it into OkCoral later, or you just can take a photo of the cluster and its tags, and send them to us through the app!

*OkCoral is currently only available for iOS devices. This is just the beginning, though, and we hope to bring out a version for Android very soon!

Take a sneak peek at OkCoral! Toggle between the screens below…

Ready to become a Coral Restoration Foundation Citizen Scientist?


Thank you for your interest in becoming a Coral Restoration Foundation Citizen Scientist and donating your time to help document success and improve our restoration efforts! We have provided answers to frequently asked questions below. If you have more questions, feel free to email or call (305) 453-7030.

Who can become a Citizen Scientist?

Anyone! You do not need a science degree to be a Citizen Scientist.

You also do not need to live in the Keys to become a Citizen Scientist. If you are planning to visit the Florida Keys and are looking for something to do, this is the perfect opportunity to make a difference.

How do I become a Citizen Scientist?

Simply download the OkCoral app onto your smartphone, and start swiping! After playing each level on the OkCoral app, you will be guided through the instructions for gathering data and taking pictures of coral clusters that will be useful to us. Then, all you need to do is get out into the water, start looking for our coral outplants, making a note of the information that we need for each one, taking their pictures if you can, and sending it all to us – all through the app!

How much do I need to know to be a Citizen Scientist?

Honestly, not that much! By playing the intro game on OkCoral, you will learn: to identify two types of corals (staghorn and elkhorn); how to tell the difference between living and dead corals; and how to identify corals that have fused and those that haven’t.

Once you’ve passed each level, you will also learn how to read our tags to identify the cluster and genotype. Then, you will be ready to send us your data and pictures.

Does it cost money?

No, it does not cost any money to become a Citizen Scientist! The Citizen Scientist Program is designed for individuals who like to snorkel or dive and want to contribute to our efforts on their own time.

How many times can I play the training game on OkCoral

As many as it takes to get 85% or more on each level!

Is OKCoral available for Android devices?

Unfortunately, OkCoral is currently only  available on iOS. This is just the beginning, though, and we hope to bring the app to Android as soon as we can.

What kind of data do I collect?

Essentially, you will simply be sending us data and/or underwater photographs of coral clusters that we have outplanted onto reef sites along the Florida Reef Tract. For pictures, all we need from you are clear images of our coral outplants that show the whole cluster, as well as the information on the tags.

You will send us the data and photos, along with information on the date and location where each picture was taken. All of this information will then be analyzed by the Coral Restoration Foundation team.

What is the data used for?

The data is used to measure survivorship rates to ensure our methods are successful and answer many questions that will inform our reef restoration practices.

When do I need to monitor?

Monitoring is a year-round effort. You can monitor corals once a year or thirty times a year.

Where can I monitor?

Coral Restoration Foundation’s Reef Restoration Team has outplanted thousands of corals across the Florida Reef Tract. We’ve created a map of reef restoration sites below to give you a better idea of where monitoring can take place.

What materials do I need?

All you need is yourself,OkCoral, and a means of recording the info while you’re diving. A slate works very well. While it’s not necessary, we also recommend taking an underwater camera, or just using your phone in an underwater housing.

Ready to become a Coral Restoration Foundation Citizen Scientist?

Molasses Reef


Pickles Reef

Snapper Ledge

Davis Reef

Alligator Reef

Little Conch Reef

Crocker Reef

North Dry Rocks

Carysfort Reef

Nine Foot Stake

Marker 32

White Bank Reef

French Reef

West Turtle Shoals

East Turtle Shoals

M2 Patch Reef

M7 Patch Reef

M4 Patch Reef

M4 Patch Reef

M10 Patch Reef

Western Sambo

Grecian Rocks