Study Design

Island selection

Our goal is to collect reliable, repeatable, and comprehensive data from a broad collection of coral reef environments from across the globe. The selection of regions and islands within regions is strategic, with an aim to capture the variability of environmental conditions that exist across modern coral reefs while assuring operational feasibility. Coral reef habitats range in ecology and condition based upon many factors, with a large influence of each oceanographic condition (e.g., productivity, sea surface temperature, wave energy) and level of human influence. Within each region the tropical Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean, we will target a collection of islands that span the range of conditions readily observed – for example islands with high and low oceanic productivity (satellite derived Chlorophyll-a as a proxy for productivity) and islands with high and low human population sizes. Beyond the targeted islands, we will opportunistically visit additional islands within each region to capture more insights about the variability of reefs across the globe. These opportunistic islands will be of value by providing reliable and comparable data that complement existing research and management efforts among global partners. Given such a sampling design, we will be well-poised to describe the current state of coral reefs globally and to contribute invaluable insights into how and why the reefs are changing through time.