Technological Innovation to Support Reef Research and Conservation

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2024 | Viewed by 9188

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1000 Pope Road, MSB 312, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
2. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, 1845 Wasp Blvd, Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA
Interests: ecological statistics; marine ecology; coral reefs; underwater photogrammetry
Marine Science Department, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, 200 W. Kāwili St., Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Interests: coral biology; coral reef ecology; marine ecology; data science; photogrammetry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The Diversity journal is about to launch a Special Issue dedicated to Technological Innovation to Support Reef Research and Conservation.

Technological advancements in recent years have led to development of techniques for data acquisition and analysis and their application to reef environments to facilitate reef research and conservation activities. The focus of this Special Issue of the interdisciplinary open access journal Diversity is the development and adaptation of such techniques to increase the efficiency of ecological research on subtidal reefs (e.g., rocky, coral or mesophotic reefs), including but not limited to the use of eDNA, remote sensing (ranging from satellite remote sensing to underwater photogrammetry), unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles and machine learning. As the impacts of climate change are expected to increase worldwide, these new techniques can play key roles in effective monitoring of marine ecosystems. We welcome submissions that are focused on a broad range of innovative approaches to enhance our understanding of reef environments.

Dr. Atsuko Fukunaga
Dr. John Burns
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • reef monitoring
  • biodiversity
  • eDNA
  • remote sensing
  • machine learning

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

27 pages, 5844 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Variation in Coral Assemblages and Reef Habitat Complexity among Shallow Fore-Reef Sites in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
by Kayelyn R. Simmons, DelWayne R. Bohnenstiehl and David B. Eggleston
Diversity 2022, 14(3), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14030153 - 22 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2661
Abstract
With the unprecedented degradation and loss of coral reefs at multiple scales, the underlying changes in abiotic and biotic features relevant to the three-dimensional architecture of coral reefs are critical to conservation and restoration. This study characterized the spatiotemporal variation of habitat metrics [...] Read more.
With the unprecedented degradation and loss of coral reefs at multiple scales, the underlying changes in abiotic and biotic features relevant to the three-dimensional architecture of coral reefs are critical to conservation and restoration. This study characterized the spatiotemporal variation of habitat metrics at eight fore-reef sites representing three management zones in the Florida Keys, USA using visual habitat surveys (2017–2018) acquired before and after Hurricane Irma. Post-hurricane, five of those sites were surveyed using structure-from-motion photogrammetry to further investigate coral morphology on structural complexity. Multivariate results for visual surveys identified moderate separation among sites, with fished sites characterized by complex physical features such as depth and vertical hard relief while protected sites generally harbored high abundances of live coral cover. Three-dimensional models of mapped sites showed within site variation as another driver in site separation. Additionally, fine-scale orthoimage analyses identified significant differences in dominant coral morphologies at each mapped site. This study suggests protected reef sites generally harbor higher live coral cover despite some fished sites being structurally similar in seabed topography. Our work provides fine-scale spatial data on several managed sites within a marine sanctuary and highlights the contribution of diverse coral assemblages to the coral reef framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Innovation to Support Reef Research and Conservation)
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12 pages, 2042 KiB  
Article
Are Sunken Warships Biodiversity Havens for Corals?
by Gregory P. Asner, Sonja F. Giardina, Christopher Balzotti, Crawford Drury, Sean Hopson and Roberta E. Martin
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020139 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3594
Abstract
Coral reefs are threatened by climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Artificial reefs may provide havens for corals, both to escape warming surface waters and to assist in the geographic migration of corals to more habitable natural reef conditions of the future. The largest [...] Read more.
Coral reefs are threatened by climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Artificial reefs may provide havens for corals, both to escape warming surface waters and to assist in the geographic migration of corals to more habitable natural reef conditions of the future. The largest artificial reefs have been generated by nearly 2000 shipwrecks around the world, but the coral diversity on these wrecks is virtually unknown. Ship size and hull material, location relative to natural reef, time since sinking, ocean currents, and water depth may affect coral diversity. As a test of the biodiversity capacity of very large sunken structures relative to surrounding natural reef, we carried out technical diver-based surveys to quantify genus-level coral diversity on 29 warships sunk in Bikini Atoll and Chuuk Lagoon. We also assessed whether ship length, as an index of substrate availability, and water depth, as an indicator of light and temperature, can serve as predictors of coral diversity. We surveyed a total of 9105 scleractinian corals. The total number of genera identified at Bikini was 34, and at Chuuk it was 51, representing 67% and 72% of genera found on natural reefs at Bikini and Chuuk, respectively. Ship length, but not water depth, was positively correlated with relative abundance and richness at the genus level. Our results suggest that very large wrecks can serve as havens for reef-building corals with a broad genetic diversity, expressed at the genus level, commensurate with corals found on neighboring natural reefs. The role of large artificial reefs could include protecting coral biodiversity from warming surface waters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Innovation to Support Reef Research and Conservation)
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8 pages, 602 KiB  
Communication
Underwater Photogrammetry Captures the Initial Recovery of a Coral Reef at Lalo Atoll
by Atsuko Fukunaga, Kailey H. Pascoe, Ashley R. Pugh, Randall K. Kosaki and John H. R. Burns
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010039 - 08 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2186
Abstract
Recovery of coral reefs after physical damage sustained from storm events can be affected by various factors. Here, we examined the initial recovery of a coral reef at the southern end of uninhabited Lalo Atoll of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument after its complete [...] Read more.
Recovery of coral reefs after physical damage sustained from storm events can be affected by various factors. Here, we examined the initial recovery of a coral reef at the southern end of uninhabited Lalo Atoll of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument after its complete destruction by Hurricane Walaka in 2018. While the site was still mostly (98%) covered by a mixture of rubble and sand, surveys utilizing underwater photogrammetry allowed for detailed quantitative assessments of benthic cover and confirmed colonization of coral (Pocillopora meandrina and Porites lobata), macroalgae and sponges. The proportion of sand in the rubble–sand mixture also decreased from the level observed in 2019. Visual fish surveys confirmed the presence of 35 reef fish species, a large increase from no reef fish in 2019, despite the low biotic benthic cover. Overall, the colonization of benthic organisms and the return of reef fish, which is potentially supported by the benthos and cryptofauna in the rubble bed, offer positive signs of reef recovery. The photogrammetric surveys in the present study captured the subtle changes in the benthic cover and provided us with a procedure to continue monitoring the succession of the site. Continuous monitoring of the site should reveal whether the reef returns to the original state of Acropora coral dominance or progresses towards a coral assemblage with a different composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Innovation to Support Reef Research and Conservation)
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