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Mapping and monitoring coral Reefs using satellite image data and texture analysis methods


Coral reefs are a globally significant natural and economic resource and are declining in condition throughout the world. Managing such diverse ecosystems is a challenging task.

The ability to measure and monitor the health or condition of a coral reef is a fundamental international need both among a variety of government resource management agencies and among user groups such as the fishing and tourism industries and local communities whose livelihood depends on a healthy reef ecosystem.

Remote sensing technology allows us to extract biophysical information on coral reefs in a non-intrusive and relatively inexpensive manner. The recent commercial availability of high-resolution remote sensing image data has provided the reef research community with a wealth of information.

Up to now, the majority of image processing techniques developed for the purpose of coral reef mapping and monitoring have concentrated on the use of spectral (reflected sunlight) information, without giving much consideration to the spatial context or texture (pattern of reef features) of the pixels.

Preliminary studies by the hosts have produced promising results on the use of texture-based methods for extracting biophysical attribute (e.g. coral type and condition) information from high-resolution satellite image data sets of coral reefs.

The purpose of this research project is to bring together the digital image processing and texture analysis expertise of the researcher with the extensive environmental remote sensing and management skills of the two hosts.

The project will enable the researcher to develop a unique set of skills and contribute to an important global effort to develop an integrated management programme for the mapping and monitoring of coral reefs worldwide.

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The Registrar & Secretary, Northcote House, The Queen's Drive
United Kingdom

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