Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Health of coral reefs detected from orbit

04.10.2005


Australian researchers have found Envisat’s MERIS sensor can detect coral bleaching down to ten metres deep. This means Envisat could potentially monitor impacted coral reefs worldwide on a twice-weekly basis.



Coral bleaching happens when symbiotic algae living in symbiosis with living coral polyps (and providing them their distinctive colours) are expelled. The whitening coral may die with subsequent impacts on the reef ecosystem, and thus fisheries, regional tourism and coastal protection. Coral bleaching is linked to sea temperatures above normal summer maxima and to solar radiation. Bleaching may take place on localised and mass scales – there was an extensive bleaching event in 1998 and 2002 likely linked to El Niño events.

"An increase in frequency of coral bleaching may be one of the first tangible environmental effects of global warming," states Dr. Arnold Dekker of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Wealth from Oceans Flagship program."The concern is that coral reefs might pass a critical bleaching threshold beyond which they are unable to regenerate."


Aerial or boat-based observation is the current method of detecting bleaching, but many reefs are either inaccessible or simply too large (the Great Barrier Reef has an area of 350 000 square kilometres) for an event that happens within a fortnight. Bleached corals may rapidly be colonised by blue-green to brown algae, more difficult to distinguish from live coral.

Repetitive, objective and broad-scale satellite coverage is the alternative. At this week’s MERIS/AATSR Workshop in Frascati, Italy, the CSIRO team presented initial results using Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS). MERIS acquires images in 15 different spectral bands at 300 m resolution.

"Coral bleaching needs to be mapped at the global scale," Dekker adds. "High-spatial resolution satellites can only do it on a few reefs due to cost and coverage constraints. We need a system that has appropriate coverage and revisit frequency, with a sufficient amount of spectral bands and sensitivity. There is no more suitable system than MERIS."

The team studied Heron Island reef at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, site of a University of Queensland research station. Validating MERIS Full Resolution mode results, they found that observed changes in live coral cover were correlated to an existing bleaching event.

Theoretical studies indicate that for each complete 300-metre pixel of coral under one metre of water it is possible to detect a 2% bleaching of live coral. MERIS should remain sensitive to detecting from 7-8% bleached coral even under ten metres of water.

"MERIS Full Resolution covers the world every three days, a bottleneck for global monitoring could be data processing," Dekker concludes. "However satellite sensors measuring sea surface temperature such as Envisat’s Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) can be applied to prioritise reefs that are subject to sea temperature heating anomalies-thus focusing the MERIS based bleaching detection.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has expressed interest in the project. Australian scientists plan to progress to perform MERIS monitoring of bleaching events up to the scale of the whole Great Barrier Reef.

Mariangela D’Acunto | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMCAY4Y3EE_planet_0.html
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht 100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?
15.06.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht What the size distribution of organisms tells us about the energetic efficiency of a lake
05.06.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>