Surveying the Reefs of Lana’i – by Air and by Sea

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As the sun begins to rise over the island ridges of Lana’i, Hawai’i, the drone lifts off from its landing pad on the beach and begins to fly a grid along the coast, imaging the nearshore coral reefs. The drone is being flown by Dr. Ved Chirayath from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science’s Aircraft Center for Earth Studies (ACES). Ved has pioneered a new approach to mapping reefs using drones equipped with fluid lensing technology. While this cutting-edge technology is capturing reefs by air, the need for in-water validation of those images and census of marine life is critical to understanding the status of this coral reef ecosystem. And that is where my expertise comes into play.

I have been surveying reefs all over the world for the past 10 years, and I am excited to be putting my skill set to use again in the field. Traditional underwater surveys of both the benthic and fish communities, combined with drone surveys, gives the most detailed information regarding the health of the coral reef ecosystem…

Global Reef Expedition Final Report

The Global Reef Expedition Final Report summarizes the findings from our 10-year research mission to survey and map coral reefs across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans as well as the Red Sea. The Expedition involved hundreds of research scientists …

The Global Reef Expedition at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s Director of Science Management, Alex Dempsey, had the prestigious opportunity to present at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France. Her presentation, entitled “The Global Reef Expedition (GRE): Circumnavigating the Globe to Address the Coral Reef Crisis,” focused on the plight of coral reefs and how the Global Reef Expedition assessed the state of coral reefs around the world.

Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together “several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges.” As coral reefs are rapidly declining globally due to a host of different stressors such as climate change and overfishing, they are a key example of a critical habitat in need of global awareness and protection using a multifaceted approach of conservation disciplines and stakeholder involvement. The presentation highlighted how the GRE was meticulously planned under the framework of Science Without Borders©, and the foundation’s three-pronged approach of using scientific research, education, and outreach to address the coral reef crisis. In each country the GRE visited, an international team of scientists together with local leaders, conservationists, government officials, and subject matter experts worked in tandem to assess the state of the reefs.

Mapping of the World’s Coral Reefs

World Ocean Observatory June 8, 2021 Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Partners with NASA to Accelerate the Mapping of the World’s Coral Reefs Satellite imagery of coral reefs near Al Wajh in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea Annapolis, MD …

Multi-decadal atoll-island dynamics in the Indian Ocean Chagos Archipelago

Published in Global and Planetary Change  Abstract This study calls upon recently discovered aerial photographs for two atolls in the Indian Ocean Chagos Archipelago. Pairing these vintage data with modern satellite imagery allows the coastline dynamics of a suite of islands …

Mapping the abyssal depths of the Northern Red Sea

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During a month-long expedition in 2007, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) conducted a comprehensive assessment of the coral reefs situated in the Ras Qisbah region of the northern Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Thirteen years later, KSLOF Chief Scientist Sam Purkis is embarking on a return mission to revisit this area and extend the mapping of the shallow-water reefs conducted by KSLOF into the abyssal depths of the Northern Red Sea.