Coral reefs are sometimes referred to as “the rainforests of the seas” — they are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Although they cover just one percent of the ocean floor, these mesmerizing, scaly habitats support an estimated 25 percent of all marine life. They are also highly endangered: the climate crisis, coastal development, ocean acidification, and destructive overfishing are a few of the many factors contributing to their alarming decline. By some estimates, nearly all remaining reefs will be at risk by 2050.
Scientists have now completed the first comprehensive, continually-updated map of the world’s shallow coral reefs, a critical tool for their preservation. Using 2.25 million satellite images, the Allen Coral Atlas maps nearly 100,000 square miles of shallow coral reefs.
Over 450 teams of scientists from around the world contributed data for the initiative, directed by Arizona State University (ASU)’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation. Named after Microsoft founder Paul Allen, whose company Vulcan funded the Atlas website, the interactive platform is a team effort. The Earth imaging company Planet provides satellite photographs, while the University of Queensland applies machine learning to create map layers and the National Geographic Society trains conservationists to use it.
According to a statement, 14 countries are already using the Atlas for marine planning projects; combined with a system that tracks coral bleaching events released earlier this year, it’s a valuable resource for both scientists and policymakers.
“It is a gratifying milestone after years of dedicated non-stop teamwork to bring this global map to fruition,” said Greg Asner, Managing Director of the Atlas at ASU. “But the true value of the work will come when coral conservationists are able to better protect coral reefs based on the high-resolution maps and monitoring system.”
“We must double down and use this tool as we work to save coral reefs from the impacts of our climate crisis and other threats,” he added.
Join Hyperallergic for an online conversation with cultural organizer and curator La Tanya S. Autry on February 1 at 7pm (EST).
This week, the Tonga eruption as captured from space, Boston gets a big gift of Dutch and Flemish painting, 30 years of New Queer Cinema, an important Marcel Breuer house is demolished, and much more.
At this free online summit, hear from architects Tadao Ando and Lesley Lokko; artist Himali Singh Soin; author Amitav Ghosh; design studio Formafantasma; and more.
Being bowled over by an unknown artist’s first one-person show does not happen often but when it does, it renews your faith that the art world is not just about buzz and hype.
Surrealist images of a Rice Krispies box or Yukon Gold potato explore how data is transformed into the visual language called art.
This immersive video installation utilizes waterscape scenes to speak about concepts such as existence, intimacy, healing, and aquatic ecology.
What is wonderful about the online photography exhibition What Have We Stopped Hiding? is that one is given entrée to the internal monologue of the artists featured in the show.
Self-taught artists were invited to exhibit, and sell, their fuzzy stacks of pancakes and tasseled tapestries.
Curator, educator, and transdisciplinary artist Jova Lynne is coming from MOCAD to lead Temple Contemporary exhibitions and public programs.
Our culture seems obsessed with the artist/model relationship, portrayed in countless movies and narratives as a relationship that is lustful and scandalous.
Creator Art Spiegelman said he was “baffled” by the decision and called the school board’s behavior “Orwellian.”
The winners of this year’s Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest prove that life is indeed better under the sea.