Marine Biology

Here you can get to know about our marine biology workshops and Reef Check courses:
Dive into the wonderful world of our oceans!

Reef Check Eco Diver CourseMarine Biology Weeks
* Take part in reef examinations
* Perceive human impacts upon ecosystems
* Collect scientific data
* Reef Check – Saving reefs worldwide
* Sampling & microscope sessions
* Teamwork on marinebiology methods
* Explore the great variety of coral reefs
* Marinebiology Quiz

Reef Check Eco Diver Course
30th july to 3rd august 2019 contact

Marine Biology Weeks
27th oct. - 9th november 2019 contact
In july/august 2019 another „REEF CHECK Ecodiver Course and surveys will take place at Marsa Shagra / Red Sea Diving Safari. Since we started our reef monitoring program in 2009, we´re in the eleventh year now. 13 courses have been conducted and 50 Reef Check EcoDivers and 6 EcoDiver Trainers have been certified since then (as of8/2018).
The 5-day course will be held from 30th july to 3rd august 2019 at Marsa Shagra, with a Reef Check survey on the last day.
Hereafter there are 4 more surveys around Marsa Shagra and Marsa Nakari on the schedule.
The course is lead by marine biologist and Reef Check Course Director Stephan Moldzio, the course fee is 250€.
Here´s the photo report of our latest Reef Check activities in 2018:
Reef Check Eco Diver Course 2018

Reef Check is the world´s largest international coral reef monitoring organization involving volunteer recreational divers and marine scientists. Reef Check began in 1996 in order to survey the world’s coral reefs using one standardized method so that survey results could be compared wherever they were carried out. Data about the health of coral reefs are essential to face and reverse the decline of the world’s coral reef ecosystems. The Reef Check protocol is focused on the abundance of particular coral reef organisms that best reflect the condition of the ecosystem and that are easy to recognize by the public. The techniques are simple to learn and the data are scientifically robust. Reef Check serves as the first step in attracting participation in coral reef management activities.
For more information about the Reef Check Foundation, please visit:

The method
For the surveys, a 100m transect line is laid out along the reef and abundances of certain indicator organisms, substrate categories, and human impacts (e.g. anchor damage, fishing lines, rubbish,…) are recorded. Along this line, three buddy teams conduct a fish survey, a substrate survey and an invertebrate / human impact survey, respectively, and record their data on UW slates. The Reef Check indicators are selected to best reflect the health status of a coral reef, especially in view of human impacts, e.g. overfishing, overfertilization, coral damage, waste, etc. For instance the substrate survey and the percentage of coral coverage provide an important measure for this health status. In case of an imbalance within the ecosystem or when overfertilization is a problem, algae may overgrow the corals as well as prevent the recolonization of new coral recruits.

Saving the coral reefs!
In 2009 Red Sea Diving Safari (RSDS) startet a long-term reef monitoring program to help conserve the largely intact reefs in southern Egypt. Since then, Eco-Diver courses have been conducted every year with subsequent Reef Check Surveys on 10 different reefs. The collected data are included in the international, publicly accessible database of Reef Check:
RSDS is an official sponsor of Reef Check and supports the activities with free diving during the course and the surveys. RSDS has been active in reef protection and an environmentally friendly tourism development for a long time. The "Eco-Diving Adventure" includes marine biology workshops, cooperation with environmental organisations and initiatives, introduction of mooring buoy systems, reef cleanups, as well as beach and waste disposal projects. Here you can find the annual reports of our monitoring program from 2010 and 2012.

Reef Check Eco Diver course
Everybody can contribute to Reef Check. The 4-day Eco Diver course includes four presentations, practise of methodology and species identification skills, training dives, tests, an UW field guide and a certificate.
After the course we will conduct at least one complete Reef Check survey along two depth contours and submit our collected data to the international Reef Check database.
As an alternative to the Eco Diver course there is also a half-day “Discover Reef Check” course available. After successful participation of the course you are certified Reef Check Eco Diver. The certification card qualifies the holder to participate in Reef Check surveys in the Indo-Pacific region and to collect scientific data about the status of coral reefs. Many participants felt that their diving and their underwater perception had strongly changed after participation in the course: They learned a lot about fish, corals and invertebrates, coral reef ecology in general and about today´s threats to coral reefs. The course leader is the marine biologist and Reef Check team scientist Stephan Moldzio.

The 5-day Eco Diver Course includes:
UW-Field Guide
4 Lectures
8 Training dives
Practise of buoyancy, methodology and species identification skills
Reef Check Survey
Eco Diver Certificate

It is required to have good buoyancy skills and a minimum of 30 logged dives.
It is also required that divers are equipped with dive computers
Eco-adventure for everyone!
Divers, snorkelers and non-divers can learn about and help conserve precious coral reefs in an active workshop at Yap. In october / november 2019, the second "Marine Biology Weeks" event will take place at Manta Ray Bay Resort on Yap / Micronesia. Marine biologist Stephan Moldzio will be offering three different workshops:

Marine Biology Workshop “basic”
Coral reef ecology, food web, marine conservation
Learning about fish - family ID and ecology
Sampling sand, rubble and plankton
Stereomicroscope sessions and zoological drawing
Guided dives
Marinebiology quiz
Workshop booklet & certificate

Marine Biology Workshop “advanced”
Fish species list, working with scientific databases
Exploration of the mangrove ecosystem
Stereomicroscope sessions and invertebrate ID
Guided dives (one night dive)
Marinebiology quiz
Workshop booklet & certificate

Coral ID Workshop
Introduction into coral biology and coral ID
Classroom lessons and underwater sessions
Guided dives (one fluorescent night dive)
Marinebiology quiz
Workshop booklet & certificate

Course schedule
During the Marine Biology Workshop „basic“ and „advanced“, we will take samples of reef rock, plankton, sand and investigate them further under the stereomicroscope. We practise fish and invertebrate identification and deal with their biology and ecological role in the reef.
The focus of the "basic" workshop is coral reef ecology:
The mechanisms of reef building and - erosion, zonation of a coral reef, functional groups, food web, as well as today's threats to coral reefs and environmental protection.
During the "advanced" workshop, we will focus more on species identification, work with zoological databases to make up species lists, as well as learn about some marine biological methods.
In the Coral ID Workshop, we will deal extensively with the reefs´ "architects" and learn how to determine them down to genus level. The coral determination is based on the Indopacific Coral Finder by Russell Kelley.
Alongside the coral reef ecosystem, we will also explore the mangrove forests, which play a vital role not only as a nursery for many reef fish, but also for coastal protection and food supply.
Another part of the program are evening lectures, a marine biology quiz and (fluorescence) night dives, as well as an island tour to explore the fascinating culture of yap.
Of course, the sharks and mantas that have made this international top spot famous will not be neglected.
An absolute special tip for an unforgettable, marine biology diving experience!


Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers
Yap island is surrounded by a 1-2 km broad fringing reef, that is interrupted by several channels, inside there are highly structurated lagoons and bays. Along the coastline there are extensive mangrove forests which play an essentail role e.g. for coastal protection, as a nursery for reef fish, as well as providing a constant nutrient and food supply for the adjacent ecosystems. All this creates a diverse underwater world where stunning dives are guaranteed.
The state of Yap established a manta ray sanctuary in 2008 and houses a healthy manta and shark population. Practically every day there is the possibility to dive with mantas at one of the cleaning stations. In two special shark dives, different reef sharks. The reefs around Yap are also home to a variety of small marine life such as mandarin fish, leaf scorpionfish, shrimpgobies and pistol shrimps, nudibranches, or mantis shrimps.
The Yap Divers are the diving pioneers on site with the most knowledgeable guides - some have been working for the family business since 1986.
The Yap Divers are certified as SSI Diamond Dive Resort, PADI 5 Star Dive Center and Mares Premium Dive Center.
Yap has four main diving areas and more than 50 designated dive sites.
Yaps traditional culture can be experienced every day through village visits, performances and excursions from the resort.

The workshop is suitable for divers AND snorkellers AND non-divers.
The minimum age is 6 years. No previous knowledge is required. The three courses build on each other. The "basic" workshop is suitable for all knowledge levels. The "advanced" and coral ID workshops are recommended especially for experienced nature lovers. Diving courses can be booked on site.
Language in course: german and english
That's what the participants said:(chronological order)
Gerhard Kutschera
* Reef Check Eco Diver Course 2012 & Surveys and Marine Biology Workshop 2014:

" Thanks to Stephans´ professionality and responsiveness to individual interests and questions, I was able to acquire a much better understanding of the relationships in the reef.
The Marine Biology Workshop was made extremely varied and instructive by richly illustrated presentations, combined with diving, sampling (plankton and reef rock samples) and microscope sessions. "
Marco Silbernagel
* Reef Check Eco Diver Course 2012 & Surveys, Reef Check Eco Diver Trainer Course 2013 & Surveys

"In addition to the course knowledge of Reef Check, Stephan has also conveyed his rich knowledge of the marine fauna and flora.
Through this, I have gained further understanding and insights into the relationships in marine biology and environmental influences, as well as a better eye for the smaller underwater structures.
The international composition and the different backgrounds of the course participants, ranging from recreational divers to diving instructors to professional divers has contributed to a lively exchange of knowledge and lasting contacts.
The lessons after the Reef Check courses were entertaining and amusing, too. "
Erich Molitor
* Marine Biology Workshop 2014
“The workshop exceeded my expectations. I'm interested anyway, what I see down there and I got to see and explain more than without experts as yet. On demand, all my questions have been answered. Especially Stephans enthusiasm for "UW" I find wonderful and inspiring. The workshop is a very good introduction for beginners (my daughter) as well as for advanced people. The workshop material is absolutely great. I can definitely recommend the workshop and hopefully I'll be back to it again."
Dr. Markus Jaritz
* Marine Biology Workshop 2014 and Reef Check Eco Diver Course 2015 & Surveys:

"The Marine Biology Workshop with Stephan Moldzio was just right for me - Stephan knows everything about it and has done a great job diving under water, too!
I think I know a lot better now (fish & corals), and also learned a lot about the ecological connections.
He also did a lot of diversification, a mix of lectures, microscopy, plankton fishing, instructional dives, quizzes ... it was a lot of fun.
He was very well prepared, but still being flexible for special interests / specializations. "
Stephanie Staats
* PADI OWD 2014, AOWD 2015, Reef Check Eco Diver Course 2015 & Surveys, Rescue Diver 2017 and various PADI specialties:

“I made my OWD and AOWD with Stephan quite quickly one behind the other.
Therefore, this course during my 14-day stay in Egypt was, in my opinion, the best I could have had done to gain experience.
With an average of 4 dives per day you get pretty quick some routine and since Stephan was also with us the full 2 weeks, I always had an experienced contact person and buddy, respectively.
During the course and the surveys I met very nice people. Among others, a ranger from Egypt, whose workplace is virtually the Red Sea.
Within the course itself, we learned a lot about fish and corals and looked for them directly under water. We identified them and communicated with each other, using the specific hand signals. I had a great time there and learned a lot, which helped me in my subsequent diving trips and vacations. I can really recommend the course. Thank you Stephan, for the great time and the fantastic photos.”
Fabian Schillak
* PADI OWD 2014, AOWD 2015, Reef Check Eco Diver Course 2015 & Surveys, Rescue Diver 2017 and various PADI specialties:

"The workshop with Stephan was absolutely educational.
No matter if you are an interested newcomer or have a comprehensive background, the course offers new experiences for everyone!
On the course days, the theory was relaxed with practical exercises and training dives, on the diving days outside the course and surveys we had fun diving.
He was able to score for every creature with names and interesting details.
With his open and relaxed manner, Stephan has always created a pleasant learning atmosphere.
I was personally fascinated, how Stephan still enthusiastically reacts to the underwater world - after every dive we talked shop with shining eyes.
That is of course contagious, and concerning me, the course has sparked the enthusiasm for the oceans and their flora and fauna! "
Dr. Ahmed M. Shawky, PhD
* Eco Diver Course 2015 & Surveys, Reef Check Surveys 2017, Reef Check Trainers´ course 2018
“The workshop with Stephan was smooth, active and standardized. You can gain the knowledge and the skills as well. It is a fascinating course for anyone who wants to conduct marine surveys for corals, fishes and invertebrates. Course materials are available and easy to use. You can feel self-confidence when conducting surveys during the course at different dive sites. You collect more data and get more experience dive after dive. You can conduct fun dives with other people and make new friendships. If you are lucky, you can participate in dugong monitoring and learn even more skills. I recommend everybody to join this course with Stephan who is a maestro in this field”.
Christa Beyer and Klaus Kohnert
* Marine Biology Workshop „basic“ and Coral ID Workshop 2017:

“Our decision was more than right. The workshops were superb. We started without any major expectations and were thrilled. Right now, after one month back home, I realize how much we have learned. Certainly I recommend the courses. And if there is the opportunity, I will take part in the next course. "
Beate and Gero Dill
* Marine Biology Workshop „basic“ and Coral ID Workshop 2017:

"The Marine Biology Workshop with Stephan was a reason to book our last trip.
We learned a lot and it was great fun to take samples and then have a closer look under the microscope.
This, and the enthusiasm of Stephan soon convinced us to participate in another workshop on corals.
Here you learn so much about corals and how you can identify them, that you are underway in the reef with completely different eyes then.
We can recommend the workshops to anyone who cares a bit about the wonderful underwater world. "
Peter Werth
* Marine Biology Workshop „advanced“ 2017
„Anyone who may think that a workshop during a well-deserved holiday can be difficult to combine, should be convinced of the opposite by Stephan. After a very short time during the Marine Biology Workshop, Stephan's enthusiasm for the animal and coral world was absolutely contagious.
In a very relaxed atmosphere I was able to learn so much in such a short time and now I dive with a completely different eye! I think every passionate diver should join a workshop in his "diving career" to better understand the incredible complexity and versatility of the marvellous coral reefs. Thank you Stephan and see you next workshop!“

Reef Check Eco Diver Course
This gallery shows pictures of different Reef Check courses and surveys at Red Sea Diving Safari 2009-2017

Reef Check – indicator organisms
This gallery shows the Reef Check indicator groups, which are recorded during the surveys:

  • Fish survey
  • Invertebrate- /human impact survey
  • Substrate survey

Marine Biology Weeks
Check out this gallery about the first MARINE BIOLOGY WEEKS at Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers 2017:

 Marine Biology Workshop – The course
This gallery shows photos of various marine biology workshops at Red Sea Diving Safari from 2009 to 2014:

Marine Biology Workshops – marine life

This gallery shows photos of marine life, taken at various Marine Biology workshops at Red Sea Diving Safari