Using the IDV to Analyze Marine Coral Stress

Modelling radiation stress on marine corals.
(Click to animate.)

Researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia; the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York; the department of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands; and the University of Warwick in Coventry, United Kingdom are using the IDV to help analyze environmental stresses on marine corals. The stress factors include high temperatures, ultra-violet radiation, weather systems, sedimentation, as well as stress-reducing factors such as temperature variability and tidal dynamics. Their paper Global Gradients of Coral Exposure to Environmental Stresses and Implications for Local Management, was published in the online journal PLoS One and has been featured in other scientific magazines including Nature.

The authors hope their study will help indentify reef systems where biodiversity is high and stress is low, aiding in conservation efforts where they have the best chance to succeed.

Long-time Unidata community member Valentijn Venus of the ITC, which provided supercomputing facilities for the study, pointed out in an ITC news report about the study that decision-makers must often integrate oceanographic data (analysis and model output available in formats like netCDF) with ecological data (i.e. the GPS-based observations of coral health). The researchers chose to use the IDV because it allowed them to easily integrate multidimensional data into a seamless global picture showing coral exposure to to environmental stresses.

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