AUTHOR PROFILE Andrew Zolli
Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Planet Powers a New Chapter in Global Coral Conservation with the Launch of Allen Coral Atlas

News

In June, we announced a groundbreaking partnership with Paul G. Allen Philanthropies and a consortium of renowned coral conservation and remote-sensing scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science, University of Queensland, and the University of Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology to map the entirety of the world’s shallow-water coral reefs in unprecedented detail, and monitor them for change.

This week, we unveiled the first of our efforts with the Allen Coral Atlas.

The Atlas launches as the highest-resolution, up-to-date global image of the world’s coral reefs ever captured, and the first to show the composition and structure of five important reefs located throughout the world: Moorea in French Polynesia; Lighthouse Reef in Belize; West Hawaii Island; Kurimunjawa in Indonesia; and Heron Island, on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, with more to come.

Beginning with Planet’s 3 meter resolution satellite imagery, Atlas partners at the University of Queensland (UQ), Carnegie Institute for Science, and Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology used advanced analytics to further analyze and validate Planet’s imagery and produce derivative maps that capture extraordinary details like reef depth and water color and distinguish between benthic microalgae, coral bommies, coral and algae, land, rock, sand, and rubble.

With this new level of timeliness and detail, conservationists, governments and local communities can plan more precisely and effectively target conservation and restoration interventions. To ensure maximum impact, the assets of the Atlas will be freely licensed for non-commercial scientific and conservation uses.

Coral Reef Mosaic of Nukuni, Fiji. Image: Planet Labs, Inc.

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse, beautiful and valuable ecosystems on Earth. They also provide many benefits to humanity, including food, livelihoods, and billions of dollars’ worth of disaster risk reduction and tourism. As nearly two-thirds of the world’s coral reefs fall under serious threat, we’re determined to participate in this major step towards better understanding and monitoring of corals for change.

 

Together, this partnership will be presenting our initial work to the United Nations in March 2019. If you’re a scientist, researcher, governmental body, or conservation-interested organization interested in contributing to this project, we’d like to hear from you. Reach out to corals@planet.com. Read the full release, here.

Moorea Island, French Polynesia. Image: Planet Labs, Inc.

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