Reply to GIS/reef inquiry

tremle at tremle at
Mon Feb 17 07:15:29 EST 1997

The following is a summary list of all the replies given in response to 
my request for information, references, and on-going research using GIS 
for coral reef conservation, ecological research and/or management. 

Many thanks to all who offered suggestions-


You might check with a group at University of Miami, the Center for 
Marine and Environmental Analyses Their home page is:

Mark Eakin 
Mapping and GIS analysis of the global distribution of coral reef fishes 
on an equal-area grid by McAllister, Schueler, Roberts and Hawkins.  
Chapter 10 in Mapping the Diversity of Nature Edited by Ronald I. Miller. 
1994.  Chapman and Hall, London.
McAllister  mcall at
As president of a French GIS working on coral reefs, as "Groupement 
d'Interêt Scientifique" (GIS) "Environnement marin et littoral de l'île 
de Mayotte" (Comoro Archipelago, SW Indian Ocean), I would greatly know 
what you understand by GIS in your meaning.
Looking forewards hearing you.
Bernard A. Thomassin
The official global (GCRMN) coral reef database is ReefBase which is 
compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge (on 
behalf of ICLARM, Manilla).  The base maps and data are collated and 
stored using ArcInfo.  The URL is-

Thomas Lankester toml at

One address : emgarcia at (or garcia with accent on the i).

Evaristo Caraballo
Coastal and Marine Projects Coordinator
Fundacion para la Defensa de la Naturaleza fudena at

Eric --

Did you ever get in touch with Bjorn Schreiber who did the mapping of 
lobster and conch habitat in Turks and Caicos?
Try either of these addresses:
czsb at
bjs at ( Bjørn Schreiber)
check with Chris Nunnes, the fisheries director who has a new e-mail
account at
Chris at

I suggest you contact Marji Puotinen. She did a Masters degree (sort of 
under me) at Duke University and has since moved on to James Cook 
University in Australia where she is doing a PhD. Her Masters work 
involved using GIS to distinguish manangement strategies for different 
sectors of the Great Barrier Reef, and I'm relatively sure she is 
combining GIS and reefs for her
Peter Howd

I too am trying to do the same sort of thing for Papua New Guinea.  
Perhaps we can share info.  The only article that I have been able to 
find that deals with GIS and reefs is entitled "Reefs from Space: 
Satellite Imagery, Marine Ecology, and Ethnography in the Dominican
Republic" by Stoffle and others (1994) in Human Ecology vol. 22 no. 3.

Let me know if you hear of anything else, and I will do the same.

Susie Cochran
cochran at

From: Francois Smith <francois at>
To: tremle at

Hello Eric,

I am Francois Smith from the Southeastern Remote Sensing Center. I read 
your e-mail message requesting coral reef GIS. I am doing my dissertation 
on seagrass monitoring using remotely sensed data, so I have come across 
a study or two pertaing to coral reefs. John Jensen has done some 
satellite study of coral reefs in Cozumel, this processed data could be 
used as an image base for GIS. I have myself toyed with the idea of sreen 
digitzing from aerial photos I have of San Salvador, the coral features. 
Anyway, maybe you check some readings from Bjorn Kjerve, and Thomas 
Goreau as I know they are coral people who have been dabbling in remote 
sensing and GIS. Also, I went to a big conference in Puerto Rico which 
was on the techniques of remote sensing and GIS for the conservation of 
Caribbean's natural resources. It was called "Conference for Remote 
Sensing And Environmental Monitoring For the Sustained Development Of The 
Americas." If you find the proceedings of this you should be s!
et. Also, you must be right next door to the NOAA Charlston Center. They 
are on the Fort Johnson too, and I know they maintain a library of 
publications on all this oceanographic and marine stuff (ask for Eric 
Dobson and mention my name). Anyway, if none of that pans out you are 
welcome to contact me because I am interested in this too and maybe could 
help develop something.

Good Luck,

Francois Smith
SERSC Manager
Columbia SC
From: Paul Sammarco <Paul_Sammarco.LUMMAIL at>
To: tremle at
Subject: Re: GIS and reef studies 

Please contact the following person for information on coral reef GIS's:  

Ms. Catherine Edgeworth
Department of Geography
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA  70803

Best Wishes,
Paul W. Sammarco, Ph.D.

From: James Porter <jporter at>
My student, Rob Sutherland did his Master's thesis on an ARC-INFO GIS study
of Key West coral reefs.  My secretary Laurie Anderson could photocopy it
for you at cost.  She can be reached at (706) 542-3379.  Jim Porter.  P.S.
Talk to Dr. Ouida Meier in Phil Dustan's lab.


To: tremle at
Subject: coral reefs and GIS

Hi Eric,
I am also using Arc Info to study coral reefs for my PHD work entitled, 
"Tropical cyclone impacts on coral reefs: modelling the disturbance 
regime in the Great Barrier Reef Region."  This work has
several purposes for management, such as: 1) being able to predict where 
most of the damage from a storm might be so that field studies can be 
properly and cost effectively designed, 2) being able to reconstruct the 
history of cyclone disturbance over the GBR, to see if any areas are more 
"at risk" from cyclones than others (if so, perhaps you wouldn't want 
these to be your protected areas, or you
wouldn't want to put tourist facilities there).

Like you, I've found virtually no references of others doing reef studies 
with GIS, in fact, I'm interested in the studies you've found.  Pretty 
soon, though, you'll be able to add some of my
work to your bibliography as I'm just about to put out an atlas of 
cyclones through the GBR which I've constructed using ArcInfo and 
ArcView.  Also, I've got a few papers to pull out of what I've done for 
the atlas so hopefully I'll get those together soon. 

I'm also doing some spatial analysis for Dr. Terry Hughes (a coral reef 
ecologist here at James Cook University) for a study of coral larvae 
survivorship across the entire GBRR.  Some papers should come out of that 
work next year some time.

Also, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, responsible for the 
wise use of the GBR Marine Park, have Arc-Info and sometimes use it for 
reef "studies" but this sort of thing is rarely published.
Similarly, the Queensland Dept. of Environment also uses Arc-Info.

Really, I can't think of anything else as you and I seem to be pioneers 
in this area.  I'm interested to hear more about what you're doing, and 
let me know if you'd like more info about my work.  I'll
keep you posted on my upcoming publications if you wish.

Looking forward to hearing from you again!
Marji Puotinen

From: Rick Smith <r.smith at>
To: tremle at
Subject: GIS - coral reefs

Dear Eric,
           I received your e-mail via James Cook University and Dr.Terry 
Done (Australian Institute of Marine Science). As AIMS we are part of a 
larger program called the "CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) program".  
The CRC was set up to manage and protect the reefs rich resources. The CRC
comprises of five partners AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science, 
James Cook University, GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority), 
DPI (Dept. of Primary Industries) and AMPTO (Assoc. of Marine Park 
Tourism Operators). With particular emphasis on tourism, the CRC for the 
"Sustainable development of the Great Barrier Reef" helps expand 
reef-based industries and provides information for better science-based 
Reef management and decision making.

The overall project has a GIS component of which I am involved as a GIS 
Technician (working at AIMS).  The GIS system is still very much in its 
infancy. We currently use GIS (Arc/Info, Arcview and GRID) for "specific 
problems" such as working out "distribution of sediment types", 
"calculating bathymetry", "water volume" etc. for scientists involved in 
the CRC.  Hopefully in the near future we will address the need for a 
system that is designed specifically around menus etc. for more general 
use. However, at the moment the GIS at AIMS is more question-answer driven.

I suspect that you are probably more interested in overall management of 
coral reefs using GIS. I suggest that GBRMPA would be worth investigating 
as they are more involved in planning rather than the science.  However I 
would be more than willing to help out if this is not the case.

Internet addresses - "AIMS -", "GBRMPA -"

Good luck!
Rick Smith
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB #3, Townsville, Qld., 4810, AUSTRALIA
Phone: (077) 534334    Fax: (077) 725852
email: r.smith at


From: Manoj Shivlani <manoj at>
To: tremle at
Subject: Re: GIS and reef studies

This may be a little late, but if it would be useful you may want to 
contact the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) at:

PO Box 500368
Marathon, FL  33050

or check their web site, which has an email address.  The science person 
there is Ben Haskell, and I think that they are doing a fed-state project 
with Florida Dept. of Env. Protection (DEP) on using GIS on their marine 
reserves.  Also, the state has a statewide GIS project in the works.

Hope this helps.

Manoj Shivlani
Research Associate
Marine Affairs and Policy
RSMAS/University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Csway
Miami, FL  33149

Eric Treml                                  tremle at
Grice Marine Biological laboratory          (803) 795-9877
University of Charleston
205 Fort Johnson Rd
Charleston, S.C.  29412

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