News + Opinions

Take a Virtual Dive Among the World's Coral Reefs

Oceans
Aug 25 2020
Allen Coral Atlas partners, scientists and researchers share images and insights from reefs they've mapped around the globe
Photo credit: Michael Markovina

Diving and snorkeling among the world's coral reefs is all in a day's work for the Allen Coral Atlas team and its partners around the world.

But make no mistake, the days are full of hard work gathering data and images that provide information about the state of reefs around the globe -  information that helps inform what actions need to be taken to help protect corals from bleaching or other damage caused by human activity. 

By Summer 2021, the Allen Coral Atlas team hopes to have 100 percent of shallow-water coral reefs mapped through translated satellite imagery. Our on-the-ground partners conduct field verification, inspecting the reef locations and conditions to ensure accuracy of the Atlas technology. Below, they've shared their personal images from locations they've surveyed so far. Join us on a virtual dive among our planet's coral reefs and check back to see additional locations as they are reviewed. 

Photo credit: Emily Darling
Photo credit: Emily Darling
Reef facts:

Southwest Pacific

  • The waters surrounding the islands of Fiji are home to 42% of the world's coral species
  • Researchers working with the Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation are using Allen Coral Atlas data to feed into country-wide marine spatial plans in Vanuatu
  • Conservation International is using the Atlas for seagrass maps


Explore the reefs
Photo credit: Michael Markovina
Photo credit: Michael Markovina
Reef facts:

Eastern Africa and Madagascar

  • This plankton-rich water supports whalesharks, manta rays and migrating humpbacks
  • The fringing reefs that line the African mainland coast are some of the least well-known scientifically. 


Explore the reefs
Photo credit: Chris Roelfsema
Photo credit: Chris Roelfsema
Reef facts:

Great Barrier Reef (Central)

  • World's largest reef system
  • Some of the coral structures date back millions of years


Explore the reefs
Photo credit: Emma Kennedy
Photo credit: Emma Kennedy
Reef facts:

Heron Island Reef

  • The reef is in the shape of an upside down polar bear
  • Home to the University of Queensland's Heron Island Research Station


Explore the reefs
Photo credit: Emma Kennedy
Photo credit: Emma Kennedy
Reef facts:

Northern Caribbean, Florida & Bahamas

  • The Andros Barrier Reef is one of the longest reef systems in the Western Atlantic
  • Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and has a very convoluted coastline - it's thought to host about 1.1% of the world's shallow reefs


Explore the reefs
Photo credit: Chris Roelfsema
Photo credit: Chris Roelfsema
Reef Facts:

Lighthouse Reef

  • Home to the Great Blue Hole of Belize, a perfectly circular limestone sinkhole more than 300 feet across and 412 feet deep.


Explore the reefs
Photo credit: Chris Roelfsema
Photo credit: Chris Roelfsema
Reef Facts:

Mo'orea

  • The name Mo'orea comes from the Tahitian Mo'ore'a, meaning "yellow lizard".
  • The island formed as a volcano 1.5 to 2.5 million years ago


Explore the reefs
Photo credit: Greg Asner
Corals in the first stages of bleaching. The Allen Coral Atlas team works to map reefs and provide data on the health of reefs and where they might be in trouble. Photo credit: Greg Asner
Reef facts:

Hawaiian Islands

  • The Hawaiian Islands have over 400K acres of living reef in the main islands
  • Hawaii's coral reef ecosystem has more than 1,250 unique species of marine life


Explore the reefs
 

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