To test the hypotheses that U.S. Virgin Islanders’ knowledge about local coral reefs is correlated with behavior, and that different sociological groups of residents have different patterns of knowledge and behavior, a mixed approach to surveying residents was used: (1) personal interviews were held in public locations and (2) an online version of the survey was administered to residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands. From July-October 2008, 462 residents over 18 years old were surveyed. Results indicate that people who engaged in outdoor activities knew significantly more about coral reefs (Spearman p<0.01, r2=0.128). Those more knowledgeable about coral reefs engaged in more positive stewardship activities (e.g. beach clean-ups) (Spearman p<0.01, r2=0.127). Negative behaviors (e.g. anchoring on reef) were not significantly correlated with increased knowledge of coral reefs (Spearman p=0.911, r2=-0.000025). Fishers did not have greater ability in identifying Acropora palmata coral than non-fishers (χ2=4.138, p=0.126); however, swimmers, snorkelers and divers (as a class) were more able to identify A. palmata than non-swimmers (χ2 =9.764, p=0.002). Most residents identified sea turtle species as endangered (hawksbill turtle, 78.9%) but only 48.2% of the responses included Acropora spp. as threatened. Resident attitudes towards conservation of local resources were overwhelmingly positive
Keywords: knowledge, behavior, stewardship, coral reefs, U.S. Virgin Islands, survey, acropora