The coral reef sentinels program: A mars shot for blue planetary health

David I. Kline, Alex Dehgan, Paul Bunje, Shah Selbe, Ved Chirayath, Oscar Pizarro, Matthieu Leray, Sean Connolly, Pim Bongaerts, Tali Treibitz, Oren Levy, David Kriegman, Andreas Andersson, Melanie McField, J. Emmett Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Up to 90% of global coral reefs are predicted to be severely degraded by 2050 under “business-as-usual” scenarios. To meet the scale and scope of this challenge, we propose designing and demonstrating a multi-modal system that can incorporate data from remote sensing (satellites, aircraft, and aerial drones), acoustics, genetics, sensor arrays, and low-cost imaging systems. The latter will be collected by low-cost smart sensing and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) guided by adaptive sampling modeling software and rapidly analyzed using automated machine learning systems. Development and deployment will be linked to extensive and diversity-enhancing training programs. The Coral Sentinel System will be globally deployed to enable rapid-response adaptive management and to build public engagement in conservation interventions to save coral reefs. Phase 1 (Year 1) will involve testing assumptions, coalition building, fundraising, and initial system development. Phase 2 (Years 2-4) will focus on engineering and development with a pilot deployment in the Caribbean. Phase 3 (Years 5-6) will involve system expansion and iteration along the Tropical Eastern Pacific corridor. Phase 4 (Years 7-10) will involve global deployment to over 50 reef sites. This will lead during the following decade (Phase 5) to provisioning of low-cost Sentinel systems to coastal communities globally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-119
Number of pages2
JournalMarine Technology Society Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Marine Technology Society Inc.. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ocean Engineering


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