Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - LEADERBOARD

World's first satellite-based Coral Reef Map & Monitoring System deployed globally

by Daria Blackwell 14 Sep 22:59 UTC
Underwater World © Fascinating Universe - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Researchers have completed a comprehensive online atlas of the world's coral reefs by using more than two million satellite images from across the earth.

The Allen Coral Atlas, named after late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, will act as a reference for reef conservation, marine planning and coral science research as scientists try to save these fragile ecosystems that are being lost to climate change, pollution and acidic waters. The group announced the completion of the atlas this week and said it is the first global, high-resolution map of its kind. It gives users the ability to see detailed information about regional reefs, including different types of submarine structures such as sand, rocks, seagrass and coral.

The maps, which include areas up to 15 metres deep, are being used to inform policy decisions about marine protected areas, spatial planning for infrastructure such as docks and seawalls and upcoming coral restoration projects. They relied on hundreds of field contributors who gave them local information about reefs so that they could programme their satellites and software to focus on the right areas.

About three-quarters of the world's reefs had not previously been mapped in such an in-depth way, and many not at all. The University of Queensland in Australia used artificial intelligence technology and local reference data to generate the layers on the atlas. Anyone can view the maps for free online.

Coral reefs provide humanity with many benefits from providing security for reef fish to stimulating the economy through tourism and more. Models predict that without intervention, 70% to 90% of coral reefs will be lost in the next 30 years.

The coral conservation community has remained dedicated to not only protecting coral reefs but also bringing them back more resilient than before. The Allen Coral Atlas unites five partners committed to ocean conservation: Arizona State University, Vulcan Inc., University of Queensland, Planet, and the National Geographic Society.

The Atlas monitoring system detects variations in reef brightness using high-resolution satellite imagery powered by an advanced algorithm indicating whether reefs are under stress caused by marine heatwaves. With this tool, users can see where corals are bleaching in bi-weekly increments from January 2021 onward on a global scale.

The ability to monitor changes in coral reef conditions is a clear but challenging requirement to drive decisions on where to apply the best restorative and protective interventions.

This is just the first version of the monitoring system. They intend to improve and expand it to include a broader range of impacts on reefs such as land-sea pollution and sedimentation.

From the OCC's point of view, such interventions are welcome and encouraging. Simply documenting change is not enough. We must understand how to prevent damaging activities and implement mitigation strategies.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

Related Articles

OCC members take coastal cleanup action
Cruisers join together to help clean up around the marina and harbour of Licata Cruisers join together to help clean up around the marina and harbour of Licata, Italy. Posted on 20 Sep
Reef safe sunscreens
We need to protect reefs by making our choice of sunscreen carefully! We protect our bodies from the sun with sunscreen. We also need to protect reefs by making our choice of sunscreen carefully! Posted on 5 Sep
International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD)
Around the world, people are being mobilised Around the world, people are being mobilised for International Coastal Cleanup Day - one of the world's largest annual volunteer preservation and protection events for our oceans and beaches. Posted on 2 Sep
Southern Spain, Gulf of Cadiz: Exclusion zone
Vessels had reported interactions with orcas in the vicinity of Barbate An exclusion zone for vessels up to 15 metres (sailing and motor) has been established by the Marina Mercante off the coast of southern Spain due to the increase of orca contacts with small vessels. Posted on 9 Aug
30th anniversary of sailing club in Cuba
Hemingway International Nautical Club of Cuba will be celebrating in 2022 I am pleased to greet you very kindly on behalf of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba and on my own behalf, as well as to wish that you, your family and members of the Ocean Cruising Club are enjoying excellent health. Posted on 5 Jul
What to do if you encounter orca off Iberian Coast
About 60 whales are resident in these waters, up from just 39 in 2011 Over the past year, numerous, often violent, interactions between whales and yachts have been reported along the coasts of Spain and Portugal right to the Straits of Gibraltar. Posted on 4 Jul
Plastic Free July
Here are two things we can concentrate our efforts on Plastic Free July is a global campaign, the idea being that everyone removes plastic from their day-to-day, entirely. This may be impractical for many, but the idea should spotlight our overreliance. Posted on 1 Jul
RoRC Soundings from the Islands
Here's hoping we do actually get down to the Caribbean this year! "Last year I lent a hand to pull the boats onto the land, They've been lying there for nineteen months or more, And I wonder will they lie there evermore". Posted on 21 Jun
RoRC report - Desktop sailing and food for heroes
It is hard to imagine a more difficult year It is hard to imagine a more difficult year. It's a very nasty virus and with international travel upended and restrictions to entry to most countries, plans for cruising are put on hold. Posted on 20 Jun
RoRC report from Maine to the Dry Tortugas
We had a sporty sail down to Annapolis on the back of a passing hurricane way out in the Atlantic In our last RoRC Report we were enjoying a beautiful summer in Maine. We were really hoping that the Canadian border would open and we could make a run to Nova Scotia but alas that never happened. Posted on 19 Jun
Sea Sure 2021 - Blakes Toilets - FOOTERRaymarine 2021 September - FOOTERJ Composites 2020 - FOOTER