AI Tool to Monitor Coral Reef Health

Recently, researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technology that can be used to identify, measure and monitor coral reefs from space.

  • Reef Halos for Coral Reef Health Monitoring: Researchers monitor coral reefs using a method called "reef halos," also referred to as grazing halos or sand halos.
  • Composition of Reef Halos: Reef halos consist of ring-like patterns of exposed sand that encircle patch reefs.
  • These ring-like patterns of bare sand can be observed and identified in satellite images.
  • Deep Learning Algorithms: The researchers have developed a combination of deep learning algorithms capable of accurately identifying approximately 90 percent of reef halos in specific regions.
  • Assess the Health and Condition of Coral Reefs: Monitoring reef halos allows researchers to assess the health and condition of coral reefs remotely.
  • Diverse Patterns: This achievement marks a significant advancement in computer vision technology, as reef halos exhibit diverse patterns that require sophisticated analysis.
  • Vital Role in Marine Ecosystems: Coral reefs are not only visually stunning but also play a vital role in marine ecosystems, protecting coastlines from erosion and supporting a diverse array of species.
  • Significant Damage to Coral Reefs: The increasing threats posed by factors such as changing water temperatures, ocean acidification, pollution, invasive species, and weather pattern shifts have led to significant damage to coral reefs worldwide.
  • Loss of Coral Reefs: The loss of coral reefs has already reached 30 to 50 percent globally, as reported by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).