Allen Coral Atlas recently released a new version of its coral bleaching monitoring system, including biweekly bleaching data from 2019 to the present. This unprecedented data release helps resource managers react to bleaching events as they occur and decision-makers to prioritize areas for restoration and mitigation.
“Coral bleaching is one of the most important threats to the world’s reefs. Yet coral bleaching has proven nearly impossible to monitor at a large geographic scale,” said Dr. Greg Asner, Director for the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University (ASU) and Managing Director of the Allen Coral Atlas. “That’s why we continue to improve our global threats monitoring system, and with our new v2.0 system, we track this threat with improved accuracy and detail.”
This improved method was developed and implemented by the ASU team, who leads the Allen Coral Atlas program. In partnership with Coral Reef Alliance and with the support of monitoring data from MERMAID, Wildlife Conservation Society, Reef Check Foundation, CORDIO East Africa, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and many others, the Atlas team has spent the past two years gaining feedback from local experts about coral bleaching events to compare with the method for iteration and improvement.
The bleaching datasets are already being used by resource managers globally. “The GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) uses the bleaching monitoring system feature during the summer’s weekly Reef Health Update to inform the general public,” said Jessica Stella, Chief Scientist at GBRMPA. “The information is then used by the Reef Authority in targeting specific areas on the Reef for in-water site inspections.”
See the current bleaching event affecting Fiji here and other large-scale bleaching events from around the world.