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Master of Environmental Data Science
(2022)

Visualizing Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Coral Reef Stressors Surrounding Moorea, French Polynesia

Underwater photo of coral reef

Group Members: Ingrid (Allie) Cole, Felicia Cruz, Jake Eisaguirre, Charles Hendrickson

Faculty Advisors: Deron Burkepile

Client: Moorea Coral Reef Long-Term Ecological Research (National Science Foundation), UCSB Marine Science Institute

Description

Coral reefs provide countless ecosystem services and economic benefits to communities around the world and support approximately 30% of all marine life. However, coral reefs are among the most vulnerable ecosystems to anthropogenic stressors, including rising sea surface temperatures and land-based nutrient enrichment. Since 2005, the Moorea Coral Reef (MCR) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project has been collecting data in Moorea, French Polynesia. Current work is being done to fill knowledge gaps in understanding how nutrient enrichment, coral bleaching, and ecosystem dynamics affect coral reef health in the lagoons surrounding Moorea. MCR researchers collect data on a wide variety of biotic and abiotic variables at different spatial and temporal resolutions and there is no easy way for researchers to quickly visualize changes across space and time. To address this issue, an interactive web application has been developed for MCR LTER researchers to visually explore ecological changes, anthropogenic stressors, and community dynamics affecting the coral reefs surrounding Moorea. This web app allows users to hone in on certain locations or variables of interest in order to identify vulnerable coral reefs and explore coral reef ecosystem dynamics. Additionally, this app will act as a research and outreach tool to bring awareness to the status of coral reefs and allow for better management and protection of Moorea’s coral reefs.

Acknowledgements

Dr. Deron Burkepile, UCSB Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology

Dr. Thomas Adams, UCSB Marine Science Institute

Moorea Coral Reef LTER

 

 

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