Assessing coral reefs worldwide from human impact & climate change (To Make A Global Coral Index)

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About This Project

The goal of this project is to assess how humans and climate change has impacted coral reefs globally by expertly assessing the status of different coral species in different regions around the world. At least 50% of the worlds coral reefs have already been destroyed. The goal is to rank each country by the health and status of coral reef habitats, and to offer mitigating solutions to a range of stakeholders to improve coral conservation worldwide!

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What is the context of this research?

More than 50% of the worlds coral reefs have already been destroyed and more continue to die each day. Snorkelling around the world, I have seen how detrimentally impacted the corals are from humans and climate change. I have spent 6 years in university studying marine biology and plan to improve coral conservation! Coral reef ecosystems lack proper management and long-term restoration plans. I plan to collect global data, assess different stocks and inform managing bodies. All of my data and assessments will have open and free access to anyone worldwide.

What is the significance of this project?

Restoring the world's coral reefs from coral bleaching and human impacts is an issue that has yet to be addressed. About 1% coral reefs die each year. It is critical to do something about this now, before it is too late. Coral reefs are important animals in the marine world, and over half a billion people depend on reefs for food, income, and protection. Providing data on the health and status assessments of corals worldwide is needed immediately to help inform stakeholders and managing bodies who can then put a restoration and protection plan in place.

What are the goals of the project?

Our first goal is to create global distribution maps of the many different species of coral, allocating to the marine ecoregion level for individual "stocks" (special software required).

Our second goal is to identify the stocks and assign biomass indices for each stock (mass data collection required).

Our third goal is to perform expert stock assessments for each country worldwide (special software required).

Our fourth goal is to rank each country on the health and status of their coral reefs, worldwide, in hopes of better informing managing bodies to improve coral conservation.


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All these items are essential for the completion of the project.

Travel Support, $1800 : field work and transportation fees, boat rentals, licence fees, support, extra expenses.

Coral Reef Research Support, $1300 : biodiversity & taxon tools, disease assessment & allocation, bleaching events data.

Software Fees, $1200 : Geographic Information System (GIS), distribution maps, RStudio, R, website & content creation, scientific tools and data softwares.

Many of these tools are commonly used by other researchers in similar conservation projects. The knowledge, expertise and endless hours of work will be provided by myself (M.Sc., Marine Biology), but having the tools and softwares required will help accomplish this project faster! Softwares include; GIS, R, Microsoft Packages, critical data sources, field work and transportation fees. I do expect there to be some expenses outside of the allotted funding which I except to pay for on my own

Project Timeline

My overall goal is to completing this entire project is 5 years. In the first year I will be spending the majority of my time producing the required distribution maps, the online free database, the taxon tables and species identification tools. The following years will be used for mass data collection procedures, also for data preparation and script creation. The final years will be used to assess coral reef stocks, do quality checks and finalize the global rankings.

Sep 01, 2020

Project Officially Launched

Jan 01, 2021

Create Global Reef Distribution Maps

Sep 01, 2021

Create Coral Species Biodiversity Database

Jan 01, 2022

Collect Coral Disease Data & Biomass Priors

Sep 01, 2022

Run Coral Stock Assessments

Meet the Team

Sydney Baxter
Sydney Baxter
Masters Degree in Marine Biology


University of Guelph, University of Salento
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Sydney Baxter

I am a 25 year old marine biologist with a Masters Degree and a strong passion for ocean conservation! Looking to improve coral reef ecosystems worldwide from human impact, climate change and coral bleaching. I pursue to provide open access data to help inform global stakeholders on improving management and restoration!

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