Researchers created a comprehensive map of coral reefs around the world using over 2 million satellite images. Read to know all about the Allen Coral Atlas.
What is the Allen Coral Atlas?
The Allen Coral Atlas is now a reference for reef conservation, coral science, ecology, and marine planning. The atlas, named after Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft aims to save fragile ecosystems that are dying due to climate change. The map is user-friendly and available online for free. It is also one of the most consistent, updated, and resources available at the moment. The project began in 2017 when Vulcan Inc. began working with Ruth Gates, a researcher from Hawaii working n the creation of super coral for restoring reefs.
The atlas provides detailed information on local reefs. It also informs users about different marine structures such as rocks, seagrass, and sand. Moreover, the map covers an area up to 15 meters under the water surface. The atlas can play a major role in policy decisions on protected areas and in spatial planning of docks, coral restoration, and seawalls. In addition to this, the atlas contains a coral bleaching monitor that helps check corals that are stressed from global warming or human interference.
What can this project do for the coral reefs?
“The true value of the work will come when coral conservationists are able to better protect coral reefs based on the high-resolution maps and monitoring system,” stated Greg Asner, the managing director of Atlas. Asner is also the director of Arizona State University’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science.
“Our biggest contribution in this achievement is that we have a uniform mapping of the entire coral reef biome. We must double down and use this tool as we work to save coral reefs from the impacts of our climate crisis and other threats,” he added. The researchers behind the initiative hope to push action to improve the protection of coral reefs around the world. “If you don’t know what you’ve got more uniformly, how would the U.N. ever play a real role? How would a government that has an archipelago with 500 islands make a uniform decision?” asked Asner.
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