Skip to main content

Open Access The Coral Reef Sentinels Program: A Mars Shot for Blue Planetary Health


Up to 90% of global coral reefs are predicted to be severely degraded by 2050 under “business-as-usual” scenarios. To meet the scale and scope of this challenge, we propose designing and demonstrating a multi-modal system that can incorporate data from remote sensing (satellites, aircraft, and aerial drones), acoustics, genetics, sensor arrays, and low-cost imaging systems. The latter will be collected by low-cost smart sensing and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) guided by adaptive sampling modeling software and rapidly analyzed using automated machine learning systems. Development and deployment will be linked to extensive and diversity-enhancing training programs. The Coral Sentinel System will be globally deployed to enable rapid-response adaptive management and to build public engagement in conservation interventions to save coral reefs.

Phase 1 (Year 1) will involve testing assumptions, coalition building, fundraising, and initial system development. Phase 2 (Years 2‐4) will focus on engineering and development with a pilot deployment in the Caribbean. Phase 3 (Years 5‐6) will involve system expansion and iteration along the Tropical Eastern Pacific corridor. Phase 4 (Years 7‐10) will involve global deployment to over 50 reef sites. This will lead during the following decade (Phase 5) to provisioning of low-cost Sentinel systems to coastal communities globally.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2021

More about this publication?
  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
  • Submit a Paper
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content