Multi-trophic species interactions shape seascape-scale coral reef vegetation patterns. To better understand how we can maximize the potential of emerging technologies to benefit coral reef science and conservation, we use qualitative analysis of a suite of existing initiatives that utilize technology to advance science or conservation of coral reefs. The loss of coral reefs puts at risk the many benefits corals provide to society, such as food security and coastal protection for tens of millions of people at least (Moberg and Folke, 1999), and medicinal resources (Bruckner, 2002) for fighting multiple common and life-threatening illnesses, including cancer, HIV, and heart disease. Provider of a smart parking platform intended to offer a technology-based alternative to the garage owners. 5, 121–132. Science 359, 80–83. Ser. *Correspondence: Elizabeth M. P. Madin, [email protected], †Present address: Elizabeth M. P. Madin, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI, United States, Front. Techno Reef is a location within Troll Kingdom that is home to the Techno Trolls. Figure 2. Dawn of drone ecology: low-cost autonomous aerial vehicles for conservation. Ecol. Steinberg, D. M., Pizarro, O., and Williams, S. B. 33, 962–975. [email protected] Drones (Chirayath and Earle, 2016; Kiszka et al., 2016), microsatellites (Asner et al., 2017), cloud databases (McCauley et al., 2016), UAV mapping (Williams et al., 2010; Burns et al., 2015), and other remote sensing approaches (Thompson et al., 2017) are just a few examples of the kinds of new tools that can help track ongoing changes in coral reef ecosystems or improve enforcement and management of coral reef areas. These and other related efforts, while diverse in nature, share the common aim of improving monitoring of the natural world through technology. REEF’s state-of-the-art equipment includes parking barriers, multi-payment machines and REEF Technology’s optimized digital platform for a seamless user experience. Examples include drones, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), 3D mapping and modeling tools, high resolution and nano satellite imagery, and a suite of monitoring and surveillance tools that are revolutionizing enforcement of sustainable reef fisheries. Autonomous underwater vehicle-assisted surveying of drowned reefs on the shelf edge of the Great Barrier Reef. 31, 419–428. Funct. Such injection of resources at early pilot stages would go a long way toward helping resource-strapped regions overcome initial barriers to entry into technological use and development. All content is posted anonymously by employees working at REEF Technology. Efforts and Data are Fragmented: A lack of coordination permeates the system. doi: 10.1109/TPAMI.2009.22, Thompson, D. R., Hochberg, E. J., Asner, G. P., Green, R. O., Knapp, D. E., Gao, B. C., et al. Accelerators such as Ocean X Labs and Ocean Solutions Incubator, traditionally focused on supporting early stage technology entrepreneurs to tackle general ocean challenges, could be harnessed or adapted to focus on coral reef-specific issues. Similarly, 3D maps of reefs are allowing new methods of assessing the functional importance of corals (Fontoura et al., in press; Zawada et al., 2019). doi: 10.1126/science.aan8048, Hughes, T. P., Kerry, J. T., Baird, A. H., Connolly, S. R., Dietzel, A., Eakin, C. M., et al. Despite these advantages, each of these tools has limitations, many of which involve trade-offs between spatial and temporal resolution and geographic coverage. Williams, S. B., Pizarro, O., Webster, J. M., Beaman, R. J., Mahon, I., Johnson-Roberson, M., et al. Kyle Sklerov (For REEF) Aquat. For example, the Coral Trait Database allows any user with an internet connection to access its global quality-controlled database of peer-reviewed data on coral trait data at a species level (e.g., demographic parameters, geographic ranges, etc.). doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13179, Hughes, T. P., Anderson, K. D., Connolly, S. R., Heron, S. F., Kerry, J. T., Lough, J. M., et al. REEF Technology, formerly known as ParkJockey Global, is now the largest parking network in North America with more than 4,500 locations. (2015). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). 131, 128–144. Bruckner, A. W. (2002). We discuss where analogous challenges have been overcome in another system and identify insights that can provide guidance for wise application of emerging technologies to coral reef science and conservation. Chang. Limited Accessibility to Technology: There are several different, but related, factors that prevent more widespread access to novel tools for coral reef science and conservation. Techno Reef is an underwater location with LEDs and bright lights, based macramé and optical fibers.. With shrinking recovery windows between global bleaching events (Hughes et al., 2018a) and the increasing human footprint of consumption, carbon, and globalization, coral reefs face a grim future. Evol. Matrix of illustrative coral reef science and conservation technology solutions that match innovative strategies to known barriers. “The iNaturalist species classification and detection dataset,” in Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, (Salt Lake City, UT: IEEE), 8769–8778. (2017). Diagram of one project’s journey integrating emerging technologies into coral reef conservation science encompassing barriers (squares) and strategies (circles) to achieve its goals. The application of such technology is wide: citizen-scientist surfers are piloting Smartfins to share data on ocean properties via sensors in their surfboard fins; smaller vessel monitoring systems (VMS) units by Pelagic Data Systems are providing new ways to track fishing vessels and, potentially, fishing gear; and new types of acoustic tags and receivers continue to lend insight into fish behavior, habitat use, and effectiveness of different kinds of fisheries management.
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