Two-Dimensional, Near-Shore, Large-Scale Marine Benthic Imagery: Creating a Valuable Tool for Coral Reef Conservationists and Managers
Coral reefs are an essential part of most coastal, tropical communities, contributing $30 billion a year to economies in the form of good and services. Coral reefs support fisheries and provide food, economic opportunities, and ecosystem services; they have great social and economic importance to these coastal communities. However, many studies have shown that reefs are declining globally, and have been for decades. Governments and nongovernmental organizations alike have rallied behind the need to properly manage and conserve reefs all across the globe. Monitoring is a critical part of any management plan to inform scientists and managers on the status of the reef and to document changes overtime. The objective of this report is to identify the monitoring needs of coral reef managers and conservationists; propose two-dimensional, near-shore, large-scale, marine benthic imagery (coral reef photomosaics) as a valuable monitoring tool; and outline the work that has been done as part of this capstone project to make the creation of coral reef photomosaics less expensive and more accessible to the coral reef management community.