A better understanding of the reefs’ location will help governments monitor, protect, and expand these vital ecosystems.
If we want to protect our precious coral reefs, then mankind needs to know the exact locations where protective regulations and restoration efforts should be targeted. That’s why scientists have developed the first-ever map that records every single coral reef in the Caribbean.
To create the map, scientists from the Caribbean division of the Nature Conservancy spent the last couple of years working with partners to stitch together 38,000 satellite images into one coherent map. Specifically, the nonprofit worked with a startup called Planet Lab that makes satellite images more affordable and accessible while providing expert insights to derive information from those satellite images.
“We want to make the data accessible, and understand with each of the governments we work with how we can infuse these products into their decision-making process,” said Steve Schill, lead scientist for the Caribbean division of the Nature Conservancy.
One of the amazing features of the map is that it shows the fine details of the reefs, such as the specific location of seagrass or rocks. The map is also available for anyone to download.
The map will also be incorporated into the Allen Coral Atlas, a project that eventually plans to map the world’s coral reefs automatically - so scientists and governments can track changes in real time. With that information, governments would be able to see, for instance, if reefs have been damaged after a large storm. Thus far, data from the map has already been used to help the Dominican Republic know where to plant corals in a restoration effort.
As the erosion of our ocean's coral reef sadly worsens, sculptor Jason Decaires Taylor is taking an unconventional approach to replenishing the ecosystem. In the 2 minute video below, take a look at the sculptures Taylor is installing underwater to help encourage underwater life while also exploring the boundaries of art.