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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(2), 118;

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

Environmental Computer Science Ltd., Raymond Penny House, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6LR, UK
Remote Sensing Research Centre, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Smithsonian Marine Station, Smithsonian Institution, Fort Pierce, FL 34949, USA
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
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 3000 Northeast 151 Street, North Miami, FL 33181, USA
Coral Reef Watch, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20740, USA
Global Science and Technology, Inc., Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA
Marine Geophysical Laboratory, Physics Department, College of Science, Technology and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
Biophysical Oceanography Group, Remote Sensing Research Centre, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines-Los Baños College, Laguna, 4031, Philippines
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)
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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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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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