Satellite Monitoring of Reef Vulnerability in a Changing Climate
Coral reefs throughout the world are subjected to a number of anthropogenic stressors.
Some of the most pervasive of these are a result of climate change. Increasing sea surface
temperature of the world's oceans is resulting in unprecedented, mass coral bleaching events
wherein coral polyps expel their symbiotic zooxanthellae. Research also suggests these
disturbances make coral reefs more susceptible to disease. Occurrences of mass bleaching
and disease outbreaks prompted the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) to create Coral Reef Watch, a program that monitors many of the indicators of
these events using satellites. Coral Reef Watch provides coral reef managers with near-realtime
alerts of bleaching conditions as they develop. For Coral Reef Watch to adequately
monitor the environmental conditions of coral reefs throughout the world, it is imperative
that collaborations exist between coral reef ecosystem biologists, managers and remote
sensing scientists. This technical report documents a workshop held in 2010 in which
experts from around the world convened to share information and brainstorm about threats
to coral reef ecosystems as a result of climate change. In addition, these experts discussed
additional risks to coral reefs and potential remote sensing tools that could be developed in
order to monitor the threats. This technical report provides substantive information on
experts’ current understandings of coral reef biology, best management practices for coral
reef ecosystem management, and technical considerations for using environmental remote
sensing to aid in these research and managerial pursuits.
Citation: Nim, C.J. and W. Skirving (eds.), 2010. Satellite Monitoring of Coral Reefs in a Changing Climate. NOAA Technical Report CRCP 1. NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. Silver Spring, MD. 114 pp.
Appearing as solitary forms in the fossil record more than 400 million years ago, corals are extremely ancient animals that evolved into modern reef-building forms over the last 25 million years. Continue Reading →
coral reef conservation program
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues: the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The CRCP brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to managing and understanding coral reef ecosystems.
Contact CRCP →
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program
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Silver Spring, MD 20910
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