Kirsten Oleson (NREM) and two members of her lab, Joey Lecky and Kim Falinski, are co-authors of a paper recently published in PLOS One
, “Advancing the Integration of Spatial Data to Map Human and Natural Drivers on Coral Reefs
.” It’s the first comprehensive map documenting the impacts of both human activities and natural events on reef recovery after extreme coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures in Hawai‘i. The study synthesized 10 years of datasets from university and government sources to gauge how factors such as sedimentation, development, and fishing influence coral reef health across the main Hawaiian Islands. It reveals variations in what was inhibiting reef recovery across the islands, provides a foundation for further research, and can inform policies to protect coral reefs. The research team’s findings highlight the importance of tailoring strategies based on location to address local impacts most effectively. Data created by this mapping study are available for free at the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System
(PacIOOS), where scientists, managers, and members of the public can explore and further analyze what drives variation on coral reefs. Read more about it in this Star-Advertiser story.