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, by providing a grant to the National Geographic Society and The Wildlife Conservation Society. With this new grant, we are even closer to our goal of mapping all coral reefs by 2020. 

The grants will enable field engagement projects to expand the Atlas. As more areas are added to the Atlas, the ultimate impact on reefs is to scale the mapping and monitoring work behind this global source of coral information.

Field engagement in Heron Island, Australia.

“Conservation NGOs currently track hundreds of coastal monitoring sites around the world, using field methods that could be adapted to inform the Allen Coral Atlas. WCS, in partnership with NGS, proposes to leverage our field programs in key countries to build the capacity of global conservation organizations to contribute to the Atlas and better monitor and manage their own resources.”

The Allen Coral Atlas starts with satellite photos whose features are translated into reef features like coral/algae, rock, and sand. However, the map images must be verified by work in the field: traveling to reefs and manually observing and noting their features. With the new funding from PMAFF, critical verification will continue so that the Atlas can become a reliable monitoring tool for coral conservation.

Preparing for field verification on a dive trip.

From the very beginning, Paul Allen conceived the Atlas as a broad partnership of funders, scientists, implementers, and users. Funding additional to Vulcan’s support is critical because more partners leads to a more widely-accepted and used product. Also, a broad partnership will assure the long-term financial sustainability of the Atlas. Field engagement was a funding gap in the Atlas plan.

The mission of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation is to advance society through the performing arts, conservation of the world’s oceans, and alleviation of poverty. The foundation was created in 2011 to honor Paul M. Angell, and strives to embody the legacy of his compassion, ingenuity and industriousness.

Learn more about our partnership