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Mar Pollut Bull. 2012 Jun;64(6):1222-37. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Satellite imaging coral reef resilience at regional scale. A case-study from Saudi Arabia.

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National Coral Reef Institute, Nova Southeastern University, Dania Beach, FL 33004, USA.


We propose a framework for spatially estimating a proxy for coral reef resilience using remote sensing. Data spanning large areas of coral reef habitat were obtained using the commercial QuickBird satellite, and freely available imagery (NASA, Google Earth). Principles of coral reef ecology, field observation, and remote observations, were combined to devise mapped indices. These capture important and accessible components of coral reef resilience. Indices are divided between factors known to stress corals, and factors incorporating properties of the reef landscape that resist stress or promote coral growth. The first-basis for a remote sensed resilience index (RSRI), an estimate of expected reef resilience, is proposed. Developed for the Red Sea, the framework of our analysis is flexible and with minimal adaptation, could be extended to other reef regions. We aim to stimulate discussion as to use of remote sensing to do more than simply deliver habitat maps of coral reefs.

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