How NASA Satellites Help Protect the Coral Reefs of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

December 17, 2020

Keolohilani H. Lopes Jr., JIMAR Field Logistics Technician for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Remote Sensing Ph.D. Student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

An extensive outbreak of a newly identified algae, Chondria tumulosa, threatens the survival of the coral reefs at Manawai (Pearl and Hermes) with the potential to spread to nearby atolls in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Due to the remote location of these atolls and the impacts of this alga, Keolohilani and his project team participating in NASA’s DEVELOP program created a tool in Google Earth Engine that enabled partners to remotely monitor ocean conditions and determine the potential primary driver(s) that may have contributed to the pervasive spread of the nuisance red algae.