Progress so far

The Remote Sensing Working Group has data for more than 25 collaborative publications to be completed by June 2009.
The Group has also developed a new algorithm approach to incorporating spatial patterns of acute and chronic thermal stress into marine reserve networks.

By late 2008, the Working Group aims to have distribute a ‘Beta-test’ version of the plane-parallel software, plus preliminary documentation. This will make industry-standard methods for modelling light interactions in natural waters available to students and developing-world scientists who cannot afford current commercial solutions. The plane-parallel software has been validated against commercial models across a range of water quality parameters, which far exceed those of natural waters. The very accurate results indicate that the algorithm implementation is error-free and will be essential in building future user-confidence in the software. The plane-parallel software is already finding use within the Working Group, with increased efficiency in arranging batch processing and other specialist uses.

Working Group Chair Professor Mumby has collaborated with Dr Steneck (Connectivity Working Group) to brief the Fisheries Administrator in Belize and reef managers in Bonaire concerning the predicted impacts of climate change on coral reefs.

In a program organised in collaboration with the Fisheries Department and Wildlife Conservation Society, Mumby and Steneck are currently helping the marine park director draft legislation to ban the use of fish traps and parrotfish exploitation.

Calculate Thermal Stress, Predict Bleaching

NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program has released a training module that teaches users how to predict coral bleaching from satellite sea surface temperature (SST) data.

The interactive training module has been developed by the Remote Sensing Working Group of the CRTR Program in collaboration with UNESCO's long-running Bilko remote-sensing distance-learning project. Bilko is available to registered users absolutely free and is used by thousands of students of remote sensing worldwide.

Says RSWG Chair Professor Peter Mumby, the step-by-step lesson follows the operational Coral Reef Watch methodology, so that users will gain in-depth knowledge of how the NOAA data are produced.

They will learn how to calculate a long-term average temperature from satellite data, and identify a specialised anomaly (HotSpot) that shows areas where corals are under stress and likely to be bleaching.

To demonstrate how these satellite data are used in the real world, the lesson ends with an activity based on a real bleaching event in the Caribbean Sea in 2005. Users can interpret satellite data to predict coral bleaching, then compare their predictions with real-life bleaching data.

For more information and to review the lesson, visit or

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