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Global coral reef monitoring system in works; satellite-based system will be first of its kind

Coral reef conservation efforts will soon get a major boost with a global monitoring system that will detect physical changes in coral cover at high resolution on a daily basis, enabling researchers, policy makers, and environmentalists to track severe bleaching events, reef dynamiting, and coastal development in near-real time. The satellite-based system — which is the product of a partnership between Paul G. Allen Philanthropies, Planet, Carnegie Institution of Science, University of Queensland, and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology — will launch at five pilot sites this fall, before rolling out globally in 2020.

“This system could be a game-changer for coral reef conservation,” Carnegie scientist Greg Asner, told Mongabay. “It will be the first large-scale monitoring system that can detect where reefs are changing thereby enabling direct action to mitigate losses.”