ThinkSpatial: Emily Darling
Towards Data-driven Action for Coral Reef Conservation and Policy
Dr. Emily Darling
Wildlife Conservation Society
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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.
Bio: 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 objective of the ThinkSpatial Forum is to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.