Assessing coral reef condition: Eliciting community meanings

Elizabeth A. Dinsdale, D. Mark Fenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Photographs depicting a gradient of coral reef condition associated with anchor damage were assessed and described by 76 research participants. The participants were divided into two groups: Those with and those without occupational experience of coral reefs. Three important meanings ascribed to coral reefs were elicited. The most important meaning was "evaluation," whether the scenes were perceived positively or negatively. The second meaning was "activity," whether the scene depicted movement through the variation in numbers of fish and types of coral. The third meaning was "diversity," describing highly diverse scenes compared to monocultures of coral. Both participant groups ascribed these meanings and had a remarkably consistent conceptualization of coral reefs. Coral reefs with high levels of anchoring were associated with the constructs "unhealthy," "boring," "lackluster," and "dead," suggesting they had lost much of their visual quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-258
Number of pages20
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anchor damage
  • Coral reefs
  • Environmental meanings
  • Repertory grid analysis


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