Principal Investigator: James C. Hendee

Objective:Provide continuously monitored oceanographic data and satellite infra-red images of coral reef areas to scientists around the world in near real-time through;

* The World-Wide Web (WWW), and
* Internet e-mail.

Provide an Internet listserver for the exchange of ideas and news on a wide variety of subjects related to the health and monitoring of coral reefs throughout the world.

Provide literature abstracts on coral reef health and monitoring.

Provide historical oceanographic data obtained from coral reef areas.

Provide Web and listserver support for the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Program (GCRMN).

Provide artificial intelligence techniques to monitor and report on near real-time data acquired from coral reef areas throughout the world.

Rationale: Coral reefs are in serious decline globally, especially those near shallow shelves and dense populations. It has been estimated that 10 percent of the earth's coral reefs have already been seriously degraded and a much greater percentage is threatened. If allowed to continue, this decline is likely to lead to the loss of most of the world's reef resources during the next century. NOAA's Coral Health and Monitoring Program (CHAMP) provides facilities for researchers and laypersons to witness, act upon and learn about threats to the health of all coral reefs.

Method: Real-time Monitoring of Oceanographic Data. Oceanographic instruments, maintained by the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) at National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) and National Weather Service (NWS) Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations, continuously collect oceanographic data at key coral reef areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. These data, along with meteorological data collected for NDBC and NWS, are sent via satellite link to a data archival facility, where the CHAMP collects them once a day. These data are reformatted for daily posting on CHAMP's Web Home Page and for sending via e-mail to interested subscribers. Infra-red satellite images, provided in cooperation with USF/DMS, are also provided via these outlets. The CHAMP WWW Server resides on a dedicated UNIX Silicon Graphics Indy Workstation (

Listserver. Users utilize Internet e-mail services to add or delete their name from the CHAMP list-service, which is maintained on a dedicated UNIX Silicon Graphics Indy Workstation server. The list is composed almost entirely of coral reef specialists, who post questions and news to the list, which is circulated among all the subscribers. Topics for discussion include,

* bleaching events
* outbreaks of coral diseases
* high predation on coral reefs
* environmental monitoring sites
* incidences of coral spawnings
* shipwrecks on reefs
* international meetings and symposia
* funding opportunities
* job openings in coral research
* marine sanctuary news
* new coral-related publications
*announcements of college courses in coral reef ecology
* coral health initiatives
* new and historical data availability
* controversial topics in coral reef ecology
* recent reports on coral research
* new coral-related journals.

Provide Literature Abstracts. Journals with coral reef related literature are reviewed and abstracts of those articles with subject matter appropriate to the CHAMP theme are included in the Abstracts Section of the CHAMP Home Page. Abstracts are searchable by author or subject.

Provide Historical Data. Historical data collected from coral reef areas are obtained through a variety of sources and reformatted for presentation on the Historical Data Section of the CHAMP Home Page.

Provide Support for the GCRMN. An Internet listserver and Web Page have been established for the GCRMN.

Provide Artificial Intelligence Support. NASA's C-Language Integrated Production System (CLIPS) expert system shell is being used to monitor conditions thought to be conducive to coral bleaching alerts at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

Accomplishment: NOAA's CHAMP program is popular with both the scientific community and the general population. About 600 to 2000 people access the CHAMP Home Page every day. Over 750 coral scientists have subscribed to Coral-List (for information on joining, see the listserver instructions on the Web Page).The automated data postings have helped enforcement personnel at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) convict violators, and have helped researchers gain an understanding of the dynamics of the reef areas in the FKNMS and Florida Bay. Notices of coral reef damage and coral spawnings have been broadcasted through our listserver throughout the world as they happen. Students and academicians have made heavy use of the on-line literature abstracts, and have also contributed their works. The Coral Reef Early Warning System has been used to effectively report to management of the FKNMS, in near real-time, when conditions were conducive to coral bleaching during summer, 1998.

Key references:

Hendee, J.C., C. Humphrey, and T. Moore. A data-driven expert system for producing coral bleaching alerts. Proceedings, 7th International Conference on the Development and Application of Computer Techniques to Environmental Studies, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 10-12, 1998. Computational Mechanics Publications/WIT Press, Southampton, 139-147 (1998).

Hendee, J.C. An expert system for marine environmental monitoring in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Florida Bay. Proceedings, 2nd International Conference on the Coastal Environment, Cancun, Mexico, September 8-10, 1998. Computational Mechanics Publications/WIT Press, Southampton, 57-66 (1998).

Hendee, J.C. (1997). Object-oriented analysis and design of a near real-time marine environmental data acquisition and reporting system. Proc. 8th Intern. Coral Reef Symposium 2: 1569-1574

Atwood, D.K., J.C. Hendee, and A. Mendez. An assessment of global warming stress on Caribbean coral reef ecosystems. Bulletin of Marine Science, 51(1):118-130 (1992).

International Coral Reef Initiative Chronology.

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