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A global inventory of coral reef stressors based on satellite observed nighttime lights

In this article, we present a satellite-based approach to gather information about the threat to coral reefs worldwide. Three chosen reef stressors - development, gas flaring and heavily lit fishing boat activity - are analysed using nighttime lights data derived from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) produced at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, National Geophysical Data Center (NOAA/NGDC). Nighttime lights represent a direct threat to coral reef ecosystems and are an excellent proxy measure for associated human-caused stressors. A lights proximity index (LPI) is calculated, measuring the distance of coral reef sites to each of the stressors and incorporating the stressor's intensity. Colourized maps visualize the results on a global scale. Area rankings clarify the effects of artificial night lighting on coral reefs on a regional scale. The results should be very useful for reef managers and for state administrations to implement coral reef conservation projects and for the scientific world to conduct further research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Geocarto International Taylor & Francis

A global inventory of coral reef stressors based on satellite observed nighttime lights

Abstract

In this article, we present a satellite-based approach to gather information about the threat to coral reefs worldwide. Three chosen reef stressors - development, gas flaring and heavily lit fishing boat activity - are analysed using nighttime lights data derived from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) produced at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, National Geophysical Data Center (NOAA/NGDC). Nighttime lights represent a direct threat to coral reef ecosystems and are an excellent proxy measure for associated human-caused stressors. A lights proximity index (LPI) is calculated, measuring the distance of coral reef sites to each of the stressors and incorporating the stressor's intensity. Colourized maps visualize the results on a global scale. Area rankings clarify the effects of artificial night lighting on coral reefs on a regional scale. The results should be very useful for reef managers and for state administrations to implement coral reef conservation projects and for the scientific world to conduct further research.
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