Asia Dive News :
French Polynesian coral reefs go online
Internet users will soon be able to access a French research institute's Coral Reef Atlas for French Polynesia, a printed work published confidentially for professionals a year ago.
The atlas provides maps of four of French Polynesia's five archipelagoes, the Society Islands, which include the most populated Windward and Leeward Islands; the Tuamotu Archipelago; the Gambier Islands and the Austral Islands.
The atlas was produced using Landsat high resolution spatial remote sensing.
The only missing archipelago is the Marquesas Islands because they do not have any coral reefs that can be mapped by satellite remote sensing, with the exception of the reefs fringing the north side of the island of Nuku Hiva.
The atlas provides between one and three cartographic plates per island and a synthesis of the surfaces of each of coral reef category. There are more than 64 categories of different reef formations. The most complex coral reef systems are found in the high islands.
The January/February edition of the bi-monthly publication "Sciences au Sud" announced the decision to go public with the publication produced by the Institut de recherche pour le developpement (IRD), a French public science and technology research institute under the joint authority of the French ministries in charge of research and overseas development.
The atlas was originally produced at the request of the French Polynesia Fishing Department. The main objective was to provide government departments and professionals with a homogeneous and user-friendly geographical database necessary for multiple management activities involving the coral reef-lagoon environment.
The Institute for Marine Remote Sensing at the University of South Florida in Tampa Bay and the Coreus Research Unit at the IRD contributed to the atlas, which had a printing of only 120 copies at the IRD Center in New Caledonia.
Source: Pacific Magazine