The next step in shallow coral reef monitoring: Combining remote sensing and in situ approaches

  • Scopélitis J
  • Andréfouët S
  • Phinn S
 et al. 
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Abstract

Most current coral reef management is supported by mapping and monitoring limited in record length and spatial extent. These deficiencies were addressed in a multidisciplinary study of cyclone impacts on Aboré Reef, New-Caledonia. Local knowledge, high thematic-resolution maps, and time-series satellite imagery complemented classical in situ monitoring methods. Field survey stations were selected from examination of pre- and post-cyclone images and their post-cyclone coral communities documented in terms of substrata, coral morphologies, live coral cover, and taxonomy. Time-series maps of hierarchically defined coral communities created at spatial scales documenting the variability among communities (29-45 classes) and suggesting the processes that affected them. The increased spatial coverage and repeatability of this approach significantly improved the recognition and interpretation of coral communities' spatio-temporal variability. It identified precise locations of impacted areas and those exhibiting coral recovery and resilience. The approach provides a comprehensive suite of information on which to base reef-scale conservation actions. © 2010.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Coral community maps
  • Cyclone impact
  • Integrative monitoring
  • Live coral cover
  • Reef health
  • Remote sensing

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