The Catlin Seaview Survey today introduced the Catlin Global Reef Record, a tool that the organization describes as a first of its kind global database and online standardized research clearinghouse that documents the world’s major coral reef ecosystems. The research tool is designed to enable the collaboration of scientists around the world who study coral reefs and how they are changing due to such factors as pollution, climate change, and over-exploitation of reef resources.
The Catlin Global Reef Record can be accessed by anyone and is freely available. It contains hundreds of thousands of 360-degree panoramic images and other scientific data sets from the Great Barrier Reef, reefs in the Caribbean and during the Catlin Seaview Survey team’s ongoing expedition in Bermuda.
The Catlin Global Reef Record is working with the best scientific collaborators in the field of coral reef research and will incorporate their data and research methods into the record. They include the University of Queensland – Global Change Institute (GCI), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which is incorporating its own Coral Reef Watch data into the record, the World Resources Institute, which will build its data and findings from its “Reefs at Risk” reports into the record; and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego scientist, David Kline is working to bring semi-automated image recognition software to help the researchers analyse the record’s photographs to help determine the the per cent coverage of benthic organisms such as corals, algae, and other invertebrates.