ThinkSpatial logothe UCSB forum on spatial technologies presents

Towards Data-driven Action for Coral Reef Conservation and Policy

Dr. Emily Darling

Wildlife Conservation Society

Thursday, April 21, 2022, 9:00 am PDT | online

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Abstract: Without drastic efforts to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate globalized stressors, tropical coral reefs are in jeopardy. Strategic conservation and management requires identifying the environmental and socioeconomic factors that underscore the persistence of coral reef ecosystems facing local pressures and global climate change. I will discuss several “big data” approaches to developing global coral reef spatial datasets that can reveal large-scale ecological patterns and drivers to guide urgent management efforts for coral reefs. Our approach is to combine spatial datasets with underwater field surveys to identify key threats, test and build new models, and use data-driven insights to advocate for strategic policy priorities to sustain Indo-Pacific coral reefs and avoid ecosystem collapse.

ThinkSpatial: Emily DarlingBio: Dr. Emily Darling is the Director of Coral Reef Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society where she leads a global coral reef conservation connecting conservation impact across the Western Indian Ocean, Coral Triangle, Melanesia and the Caribbean. She is a co-founder of the innovative coral reef monitoring platform MERMAID, and in her spare time is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.


The objectives of the ThinkSpatial Forum are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research, teaching and application; to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines; and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.

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ThinkSpatial: Emily Darling