The Global Reef Expedition: A mission to assess the health of coral reefs around the world
They set out to survey the health of remote coral reefs. As Liz Thompson writes, the team returned with the largest collection of high-resolution coral reef maps on Earth.
IN 2011, scientists from the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation set out on a mission to explore the remote coral reefs of the world. An international team of scientists, photographers, videographers and conservationists, as well as local leaders, were assembled to map, characterize, and evaluate coral reefs throughout the western Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They wanted to take a snapshot of the reefs in time, to survey and map the reefs and assess their health before it was too late.
Coral reefs are in crisis. We’ve already lost half of the world’s coral reefs in the past 50 years. Current models predict that we are likely to lose most of the other half before the turn of the century. Corals are threatened by a variety of factors including global warming, ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution, development, and disease—all of which appear to be getting worse.