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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(2), 118; doi:10.3390/rs8020118

Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs for Monitoring and Management: A Review

1
Environmental Computer Science Ltd., Raymond Penny House, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6LR, UK
2
Remote Sensing Research Centre, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
3
Smithsonian Marine Station, Smithsonian Institution, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, USA
4
Marine Spatial Ecology Laboratory and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
5
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 3000 Northeast 151 Street, North Miami, FL 33181, USA
6
Coral Reef Watch, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20740, USA
7
Global Science and Technology, Inc., Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA
8
Marine Geophysical Laboratory, Physics Department, College of Science, Technology and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
9
Biophysical Oceanography Group, Remote Sensing Research Centre, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
10
Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines-Los Baños College, Laguna, 4031, Philippines
11
Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology, Fahrenheitstrasse 6, Bremen 28359, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Richard Gloaguen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 21 December 2015 / Published: 6 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Coral Reef Monitoring)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7471 KB, uploaded 23 February 2016]   |  

Abstract

Coral reefs are in decline worldwide and monitoring activities are important for assessing the impact of disturbance on reefs and tracking subsequent recovery or decline. Monitoring by field surveys provides accurate data but at highly localised scales and so is not cost-effective for reef scale monitoring at frequent time points. Remote sensing from satellites is an alternative and complementary approach. While remote sensing cannot provide the level of detail and accuracy at a single point than a field survey, the statistical power for inferring large scale patterns benefits in having complete areal coverage. This review considers the state of the art of coral reef remote sensing for the diverse range of objectives relevant for management, ranging from the composition of the reef: physical extent, benthic cover, bathymetry, rugosity; to environmental parameters: sea surface temperature, exposure, light, carbonate chemistry. In addition to updating previous reviews, here we also consider the capability to go beyond basic maps of habitats or environmental variables, to discuss concepts highly relevant to stakeholders, policy makers and public communication: such as biodiversity, environmental threat and ecosystem services. A clear conclusion of the review is that advances in both sensor technology and processing algorithms continue to drive forward remote sensing capability for coral reef mapping, particularly with respect to spatial resolution of maps, and synthesis across multiple data products. Both trends can be expected to continue. View Full-Text
Keywords: coral reef; management; monitoring; habitat; physical environment; review coral reef; management; monitoring; habitat; physical environment; review
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Hedley, J.D.; Roelfsema, C.M.; Chollett, I.; Harborne, A.R.; Heron, S.F.; Weeks, S.; Skirving, W.J.; Strong, A.E.; Eakin, C.M.; Christensen, T.R.L.; Ticzon, V.; Bejarano, S.; Mumby, P.J. Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs for Monitoring and Management: A Review. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 118.

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