This dataset presents the raw data obtained from 1415 online and representative Australian that were asked to aesthetically
rate 180 photos of typical coral reef landscapes. Mean aesthetic ratings of 180 photos were collected from the survey, as
well as from an expert research team, contributing mean ratings of coral reef health, coral cover, coral pattern, coral topography,
fish abundance, and visibility.
Please note that CSIRO have published a version of this dataset on 29 May 2019, which should be considered the primary
source of data information (i.e. citation for data files found on the CSIRO Portal). The published eAtlas version includes
files supplied by the project to the eAtlas for publication. The eAtlas version differs in format (RatingsAesthetics.csv
- includes the photo mean score) and includes a second spreadsheet containing information not available in the CSIRO version
(Ratings-All.csv) which captures each photo's ratings against five factors (coral health, coral cover, coral topography, fish
abundance and visibility), as outlined in point two below. The CSIRO version contains the SPSS data extract and codebook
(xlsx file), as well as the photo ratings summary (PhotoRatingsInd.xlsx) without the calculated mean.
1. A survey was constructed to collect simple demographic information about each participant, the self-rated level of interest
in coral reefs, and aesthetic ratings for each photo on a scale of 1-10 (where 1=extremely unattractive, and 10=extremely
attractive). Once an individual agreed to partake in the survey, they were sent a survey with 50 photographs randomly chosen
from the pool of 181 photographs. It was noted that the quality of responses could be affected if more than 50 photos were
viewed (where 50 photos represented a ten-minute survey). The style of the survey was not dissimilar from very popular
online games in which individuals are asked to rank aesthetic preferences of fashion or interior design items. A full list
of the images used in the survey is available in Appendix 1 (1-90)
A total of 1,417 individuals participated in the study, where each photo was rated at least 380 times on the ten-point scale.
Twenty-nine percent of the sample came from Queensland, and 71% were distributed across Australia. Some 62.3% of people came
from Metropolitan Australia, whilst 37.7 came from rural/regional Australia. Some 51.4% were female. Participants represented
a range of experiences with the Great Barrier Reef, where 7.2% had never visited, and 7.9% did not find coral reefs that
interesting. Most participants (99.6%) were not part of a GBR based club or community groups, such as a spear-fishing club.
The average age for the sample population was 46.96 (standard error=0.471), and ranged from 16 to 89.
2. We identified 180 underwater coral reef photographs from those that were publicly available (www.gbrmpa.gov.au) or existed
in the combined image libraries of the study authors. They represented typical underwater images from the GBR, with a common
oblique perspective taken from approximately 5-10 m above a coral substrate. This perspective characterised the image that
a person would see as soon as they placed their head beneath the water, and it was similar to the visual perspective used
in monitoring surveys conducted by manta-towing at the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Some photos were duplicated
and placed randomly, and some were modified using photo editing software to manipulate one feature independent of others,
for the purposes of ‘checking’ the consistency and subtleties associated with making aesthetic judgements.
Each photo was rated for each of the five factors (on a scale of low, medium, high) by members of the research team with
experience in coral reefs; coral health, coral cover, coral topography, fish abundance, and visibility. Given that there
were insufficient photos representing abundant fish and poor visibility, a total of 20 photos were manipulated to enhance
or de-emphasise certain factors. These photos ensured that we could attribute differences in aesthetic appeal of each photo
to at least one of the five factors. The final set of photos represented realistic coral reef images across all five factors,
with a greater representation of images containing moderately high coral cover to capture the nuances across the scale of
potential ratings and also to aide engagement during online rating sessions
This dataset consists of two CSV files and two PDF files. The two CSV files contain the data on aesthetic ratings from an
online survey, and ratings on reef health and abundance. eAtlas Note: The original files were provided as Excel spreadsheet
tables and were converted to CSV files. Photographs and analysis were originally supplied as word document files and have
been converted to PDF files.
Marshall, N.A., Marshall, P.A., and Smith, A.K. (2017) Managing for Aesthetic Values in the Great Barrier Reef: Identifying
indicators and linking Reef Aesthetics with Reef Health. Report to the National Environmental Science Programme. Reef and
Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (102 pp.).
This dataset is filed in the eAtlas enduring data repository at: eAtlas/nesp3/3.2.4_Defining-assessing-GBR-aesthetics