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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010018

Remote Sensing of Coral Bleaching Using Temperature and Light: Progress towards an Operational Algorithm

1
Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20740, USA
2
ReefSense Pty Ltd., Townsville, QLD 4814, Australia
3
Unidad Académica de Sistemas Arrecifales Puerto Morelos, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cancun 77580, Mexico
4
Numerical Optics Ltd., Tiverton EX16 8AA, UK
5
School of Biosciences, Exeter University, Exeter EX4 4PS, UK
6
Coral Reef Ecosystems Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
7
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
8
Global Science & Technology, Inc., Greenbelt, MD 20740, USA
9
Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
10
Marine Spatial Ecology Lab, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
11
Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 October 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Sea Surface Temperature Retrievals from Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch program developed and operates several global satellite products to monitor bleaching-level heat stress. While these products have a proven ability to predict the onset of most mass coral bleaching events, they occasionally miss events; inaccurately predict the severity of some mass coral bleaching events; or report false alarms. These products are based solely on temperature and yet coral bleaching is known to result from both temperature and light stress. This study presents a novel methodology (still under development), which combines temperature and light into a single measure of stress to predict the onset and severity of mass coral bleaching. We describe here the biological basis of the Light Stress Damage (LSD) algorithm under development. Then by using empirical relationships derived in separate experiments conducted in mesocosm facilities in the Mexican Caribbean we parameterize the LSD algorithm and demonstrate that it is able to describe three past bleaching events from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). For this limited example, the LSD algorithm was able to better predict differences in the severity of the three past GBR bleaching events, quantifying the contribution of light to reduce or exacerbate the impact of heat stress. The new Light Stress Damage algorithm we present here is potentially a significant step forward in the evolution of satellite-based bleaching products. View Full-Text
Keywords: coral bleaching; Light Stress Damage; LSD; DHW; remote sensing of coral bleaching; NOAA Coral Reef Watch; CRW; mass coral bleaching; light stress; Fv/Fm coral bleaching; Light Stress Damage; LSD; DHW; remote sensing of coral bleaching; NOAA Coral Reef Watch; CRW; mass coral bleaching; light stress; Fv/Fm
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Skirving, W.; Enríquez, S.; Hedley, J.D.; Dove, S.; Eakin, C.M.; Mason, R.A.B.; De La Cour, J.L.; Liu, G.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Strong, A.E.; Mumby, P.J.; Iglesias-Prieto, R. Remote Sensing of Coral Bleaching Using Temperature and Light: Progress towards an Operational Algorithm. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 18.

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