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Master of Environmental Data Science
(2022)

A Web‐based Application for Visualizing Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Anthropogenic Stressors on Coral Reefs in the Lagoons of 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 are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, but are significantly threatened through a suite of environmental and anthropogenic stressors. Understanding spatial and temporal patterns of both global and local drivers is critical for predicting future conditions and developing mitigation strategies as coral reefs provide valuable ecosystem services for many coastal communities. 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project has been collecting temporal and spatial data on the shallow reefs surrounding Moorea, French Polynesia since 2005. The study sites have undergone multiple ecosystem shocks since data collection began, including heat waves, corallivorous sea stars, and a major cyclone. The six long term research sites have responded differently to these shocks, and a platform where these differences can be compared is needed. One way we will accomplish this is to create an easy to use Shiny application that can visualize and analyze the long-term ecological data collected in Moorea. This app will be utilized by researchers in the LTER, as an outreach tool for students at UCSB, and in the Moorea communities to inform bottom-up management. Our project aims to assist in determining how coral reef communities have changed due to anthropogenic and environmental stressors, with the potential to add additional years of data as they arise. 

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