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Quantifying the Accumulation of Marine Debris Near Coral Reefs Using Aerial Imagery and GIS Analysis
Poster Title: Quantifying the Accumulation of Marine Debris Near Coral Reefs Using Aerial Imagery and GIS Analysis
Submitted on 23 Aug 2016
Author(s): Stephanie Kung 1, Kirsten Moy 2, Miguel Castrence 3, Amber Meadows 1, Alexi Meltel 1, Andy Omori 1, Anne Rosinski 1, Brian Neilson 2, Stephen Ambagis [3, Michael Hamnett 1, Kristine Davidson 1.
Affiliations: 1. Social Science Research Institute of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2. Division of Aquatic Resources of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, 3. Resource Mapping Hawaii.
This poster was presented at The 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS)
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Poster Information
Abstract: Hawaii's coral reef ecosystem is a valuable natural resource that supports a unique and diverse host of marine life, providing sustenance to Hawaii and its inhabitants. The Great Tsunami of 2011 had devastating effects on Japan, dispersing millions of tons of debris, some of which drifted great distances across the Pacific Ocean via wind and current. This Japanese tsunami marine debris (JTMD), which includes an assortment of plastics, buoys, vessels and large docks, continues to make its way into Hawaiian waters. Debris poses serious risk to Hawaii's fragile reefs, including entanglement of reef dwelling organisms, introduction of aquatic invasive species, and physical breakage, particularly from large debris like vessels. In order to characterize the ecological consequences of JTMD, it is important to understand and quantify where and what debris is accumulating. Given the remoteness of coastlines in the Hawaiian Islands, large scale surveillance efforts are needed to identify these “hotspots” of marine debris. This project collected high-resolution aerial imagery and then, using ArcGIS software, identified and characterized marine debris densities along Hawaiian shores. This innovative technique allows analysts to identify hotspots across the state and their association with coral reefs. The project method could also prove useful in other sites or to quantify different targets, such as sedimentation or coastal wildlife. The study's findings will inform resource management on the part of federal and state government and local nonprofit and community groups. Summary: Adapted from the report, "Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Aerial Imagery Analysis
and GIS Support in the Main Hawaiian Islands."
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