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The Allen Coral Atlas to Drive Ocean Sustainability

November 30, 2021Makenna Flynn

The ocean covers 71% of our planet's surface. And one particular underwater ecosystem provides a lifeline for life below water and life on land - coral reefs. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson stressed the urgency of climate action, “There's no more debate about are we heading towards 2.7 or 3 [degrees] or way over... what it's about now is, what are we doing about it? What are the solutions?”

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A community united to protect the world’s coral reefs

September 27, 2021Makenna Flynn

In 2017, the Allen Coral Atlas founding organizations set out to create global habitat maps and connect a community of coral conservationists, researchers, and educators around the world. This became the Allen Coral Atlas. Last month, the Atlas completed mapping the world’s coral reefs. How did the team do it? This global map had several key ingredients including advanced analytics, high-resolution satellite imagery, and the glue that brings it together – teamwork.

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Allen Coral Atlas Completes First Global Coral Reef Maps

Makenna Flynn

From offering food security and protecting coastlines to supporting 25 percent of the ocean’s marine biodiversity, coral reefs play a vital role for this planet. And for these marine ecosystems, information is opening new doors for targeted action. On September 8, 2021, the Allen Coral Atlas met a major milestone by completing global habitat maps of the world’s tropical, shallow coral reefs.

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From Sand to Satellites: 14 to 22°S & 135 to 148°W

August 10, 2021Olivia Wyatt

There is a Tahitian myth of a young king, Rata. He became king after his father and uncle ventured beyond the reef and were swallowed by a giant clam on their way to Pitcairn. Rata grew up with an appetite for revenge. One day, he captured forest elves and they built him a canoe from a tree that he admired. The elves were magic, of course, and...

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World’s First Satellite-Based Coral Reef Monitoring System Deploys Globally, Paving the Way for Innovation Driven Conservation

May 19, 2021Makenna Flynn

It is no secret that the Allen Coral Atlas has a love for the rightfully named “rainforests of the sea.” Coral reefs provide humanity with many core benefits ranging from providing food security with reef fish to stimulating the economy with tourism and much more...

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International Women's Day: Interview with 6 Atlas Women

March 11, 2021Makenna Flynn

For International Women's Day, we chose to interview six of the women working for the Allen Coral Atlas. Their stories re-enforce the truth - women are changing the world. Keep reading to hear from amazing leaders in coral reef conservation.

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Hopeful thoughts from our Coral Reef Conservation Heroes

December 3, 2020Dr. Helen Fox with Coral Reef Conservation Heroes

Over the past few months, we featured interviews with the four winners of International Coral Reef Society’s Coral Reef Conservation Award Dr. Rod Salm, Dr. Nyawira Muthiga, Dr. Alan White and Ms. Sue Wells. We conclude our series with their thoughts on their hope for the future of these precious ecosystems.

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Coral Reef Conservation Heroes Part 4 of 4: Sue Wells

December 2, 2020Dr. Helen Fox with Ms. Sue Wells

Here we interview Ms. Sue Wells, already an ICRS Fellow in recognition of her exceptional service to the Society, including as Founding Chair of ISRS’s Conservation Committee. She co-founded the first International Year of the Reef in 1997, started the first marine program at WWF-International, was a principal author of IUCN’s influential “Coral Reefs of the World,” and has been dedicated to improved coral reef monitoring and to developing capacity in very pragmatic ways.

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Coral Reef Conservation Heroes Part 3 of 4: Dr. Alan White

November 4, 2020Dr. Helen Fox with Dr. Alan White

Dr. Alan T. White currently serves as the Chief of Party for the USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced Project in Indonesia. He has decades of experience with coastal management, implementation, and research, with fieldwork in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia, including substantial work with the Coral Triangle Atlas, an online GIS database of the region established in 2010 as part of the Coral Triangle Initiative.

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Coral Reef Conservation Heroes Part 2 of 4: Dr. Nyawira Muthiga

November 4, 2020Dr. Helen Fox with Dr. Nyawira Muthiga

Dr. Nyawira Muthiga is the Director or Marine Program Kenya and Conservation Scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and co-founded (with Dr. Tim McClanahan) WCS’s coral reef programs. She has improved and strengthened the management of MPAs throughout the Eastern Africa region.

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Coral Reef Conservation Heroes Part 1 of 4: Dr. Rod Salm

October 7, 2020Dr. Helen Fox with Dr. Rod Salm

Coral reef conservation would not be what it is today if it weren’t for a multitude of passionate individuals devoting their lives to the future of this ecosystem. Over the coming weeks, we will be featuring interviews with four such people, all who have received the International Coral Reef Society’s Coral Reef Conservation Award, starting with the inaugural winner, Dr. Rod Salm.

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Conversations with Sustainable Ocean Seychelles: Léo Barret and Team

September 9th, 2020Zoë Lieb, based on interview with Léo Barret, Gilberte Gendron, and Nathalie Bodin

While remote sensing allows the Allen Coral Atlas team to make global habitat maps rapidly and uniformly, there are still things you need a real human to see and interpret. The Field Engagement team caught up with Léo and Gilberte from Sustainable Oceans Seychelles earlier this month to give them a ‘sneak peek’ at the West Indian Ocean maps to identify any major inconsistencies as a result of the semi-automated process used to generate data layers.

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Atlas in the Field, Part 2: Meet CORDIO’s field teams

June 23rd, 2020Brianna Bambic and Zoë Lieb, National Geographic Society

With our newest Eastern Africa and Madagascar region maps just released, we took this opportunity to talk with Swaleh Ali Aboud, Kahaso Chembe, and Isabel Marques da Silva from our field teams about their experience and observations collecting georeferenced phototransects in Kenya, Seychelles, and Mozambique.

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Atlas in the Field, Part 1: Interview with Mike Markovina, WCS-Tanzania

June 23rd, 2020Brianna Bambic and Zoë Lieb, the National Geographic Society

Earlier this spring we had the chance to interview Mike Markovina, Director of the Marine Program for Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Tanzania. He shed some light on the experience of collecting Allen Coral Atlas coral reef data, the declining state of reefs in Eastern Africa, as well as the role of technology in marine conservation.

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Pixels and penguins: an Allen Coral Atlas Antarctic adventure

April 22, 2020Allen Coral Atlas Team

The freezing white expanse of Antarctica couldn’t be more different from tropical warm seas and colorful corals that our resident marine biologist is used to… so what do penguins have to do with pixels?

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We’re back with more maps!

April 1, 2020Paulina Gerstner

You may have noticed that we’ve gone quiet for a while. That is because we have been hard at work producing habitat maps and developing other exciting features!

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Experimental uses of higher resolution satellite imagery

September 5, 2019Daniel Chang

How would you use high-resolution satellite imagery? Our research uncovered how different people use images for coral conservation — and a surprising new arrival on a Marshall Islands reef.

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Meet the team: Vulcan

August 6, 2019Allen Coral Atlas team

The Vulcan team leads development of strategy and impact goals, project and data management, and user engagement. Get to know the team, who recently hosted all of the Allen Coral Atlas partners!

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Meet the team: Planet

July 30, 2019Allen Coral Atlas team

Planet provides high resolution satellite images of coral reefs for the Allen Coral Atlas. Learn more about their work.

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Meet the team: University of Queensland

July 22, 2019Allen Coral Atlas team

The University of Queensland team leverages field protocols with algorithms to produce maps for the Allen Coral Atlas. Get to know the team, who met with all the project partners last week!

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Meet the team: Arizona State University

July 15, 2019Allen Coral Atlas team

The ASU team develops technology to process the satellite images that power the Allen Coral Atlas. Get to know the team and their work as we kickoff our summit meeting this week!

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Meet the team: National Geographic

July 9, 2019Allen Coral Atlas team

The National Geographic Society leads field engagement for the Allen Coral Atlas. Get to know the team and their work! Find out what field engagement means, meet the members of the team, and learn about some of their current activities.

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Inspiring the Allen Coral Atlas team to map the world

July 2, 2019Emma Kennedy, University of Queensland

Sometimes mapping the world’s reefs can seem like an overwhelming task. But recently, the team has been motivated and inspired by the support of some exceptional young people around the world.

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Brainstorming on the beach

June 3, 2019Emma Kennedy, University of Queensland

Heron Island was the perfect location for the UQ mapping team to introduce their Atlas teammates to the Great Barrier Reef, brainstorm ideas, and — more importantly — collect some field data!

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New funds for coral reef field engagement

May 16, 2019Allen Coral Atlas team

The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation is the second funding partner for Allen Coral Atlas. With the new funding from PMAFF, critical verification will continue so that the Atlas can become a reliable monitoring tool for coral conservation.

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Central Great Barrier Reef is now available in the Atlas

May 15, 2019Allen Coral Atlas team

Today, the Central Great Barrier Reef region, from Cairns to Cooktown, was added to the Allen Coral Atlas. 237 reefs are now viewable online, making this the largest addition to the Atlas so far.

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Rapid repeat monitoring of reef threats

May 2, 2019Dr. Greg Asner, ASU Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science

While mapping coral reefs helps us to delineate where they are, what we currently lack is a method to monitor reef change at large geographic scales. My team at ASU is solving some of these problems.

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Atlas adds another layer

April 18, 2019Charlie Whiton

The Allen Coral Atlas continues to increase its capabilities to be an even more powerful tool for coral scientists and policy makers. Alongside development of additional detailed maps - with one scheduled to be completed by the end of May - the Allen Coral Atlas team is continuing to build partnerships and data sharing agreements that make the Atlas more robust.

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Value of a global mosaic of the world's corals

April 4, 2019Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres

What is the value of a global mosaic of the world’s corals? Why is it so special and fantastic? We have photographed every inch of the Moon's surface. We even have done so under multiple lighting situations, allowing for direct comparisons of the same landscape at different lunar phases. Such an effort allows us to land an object on the surface of the Moon within a few feet of target. We don't have the same for the world's coral reefs. 

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Challenges of mapping submerged coral reefs

March 21, 2019Dr. Chris Roelfsema

Coral reefs develop below the surface of the ocean, which makes the use of remote sensing technologies for mapping reef systems much more challenging compared to mapping habitats like forests.

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Diving into field surveys - Fiji field work, Part 2

March 7, 2019Dr. Helen Fox

As I ended the last post, I was preparing to travel to Fiji to meet and work with coral preservation partners. I had just received new cameras to test, and shipped off to Fiji.

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Building a lasting coalition to save coral reefs – Fiji field work, Part 1

February 21, 2019Dr. Helen Fox

As the Allen Coral Atlas develops regionally and then globally, our goal is to engage the wider coral reef science, monitoring, and management community and leverage existing efforts

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Welcome to the blog!

February 11, 2019Paulina Gerstner

Welcome to the Allen Coral Atlas blog, a space for learning about the Allen Coral Atlas team and its work to build the first global mosaic map of the world’s coral reefs – including this reef in Moorea.

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