Project Details


Expanding the Impact of the Allen Coral Atlas through Global Reef Monitoring Expanding the Impact of the Allen Coral Atlas through Global Reef Monitoring ASU has created the bleaching monitoring system for the Allen Coral Atlas. The first of its kind, the bleaching monitoring system utilizes weekly images from the Planet Dove satellite constellation to detect whitening on the seafloor caused by coral bleaching. Bleaching occurs during marine heatwaves when the microalgal symbiont is expelled from coral polyps. The bleaching monitoring system follows the NOAA Coral Reef Watch sea surface temperature monitoring system, thereby searching for seafloor whitening in areas undergoing marine heatwaves. Following a positive bleaching detection or whitening event, the ASU algorithms track the darkening phase that represents recovery or death of the coral via covering by macroalgae. While the ASU monitoring system algorithms are heavily vetted in test regions including the Hawaiian Islands, French Polynesia, and parts of the Great Barrier Reef, they remain first generation and require improvement over time. Improvements are only possible with user-community feedback on the location, extent, and severity of bleaching events. This information can be obtained via the engagement and outreach Project elements of this proposed activity (led by CORAL). An ASU technical Postdoctoral Fellow will be funded full-time under this proposal and work in close collaboration with WCS, CORAL, and NGS partners with the responsibility to improve the monitoring system algorithms over the course of the grant period. This will link in-the-water field observations with the ASU monitoring system to validate and improve the algorithms. Modifications to the system will center on dialing up or down the sensitivity of the whitening and darkening detection algorithms that feed into the existing satellite remote sensing since these algorithms continue to require honing through observations made during actual coral bleaching events around the world. Deadlines for this validation and iterative improvements of the monitoring system will depend on timing and quantity of user community feedback. The most important deadline is hiring and starting of this technical Postdoctoral Fellow, due 6 weeks after signing of the agreement.
Effective start/end date7/16/2112/6/23


  • Morgan Family Foundation: $275,000.00


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