The search for survivors in a post-nuclear reefscape

On the morning of March 1, 1954, the United States tested its largest thermonuclear bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Code-named “Castle Bravo”, the explosion was more than 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs that had ended World War II a decade earlier. The Castle Bravo test surprised its engineers, yielding twice as much power as had been predicted, and a massive fireball that destroyed three neighboring islands and contaminated 18,000 square kilometers (7,000 square miles) of ocean with radioactive fallout to the east of Bikini. Directly in the path of the Castle Bravo fallout was Rongelap Atoll, where radioactive debris up to 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) deep was deposited on the atoll’s small islands and extensive coral reefs. Keep reading here!

Bold Initiative Aims to Protect Coral Reefs in the Dominican Republic

A new and unique marine protected area, the Southeast Marine Sanctuary, has recently been declared, covering 786,300 hectares of reef environment, thus making it one of the largest protected areas in the Caribbean. The marine sanctuary will be divided into two zones, each to be co-managed by a diverse group of stakeholders organized into a nonprofit. The structure of its oversight – a collaboration among numerous stakeholders, from the federal government to local fishermen and from environmental groups to hotel associations – makes this new marine sanctuary remarkable. Continue reading the article here!

Battery Powered Awards $1.28 Million to Conservation

The Battery Powered community collectively awarded $1.28 million to organizations protecting, preserving and restoring oceans and tropical forests in some of the most biodiverse spots on the globe.The challenges facing our oceans and tropical forests oftentimes seem too vast for us to make a difference, but the organizations selected for a Battery Powered award prove that there is so much we can do and it is not at all too late to restore some of our most precious resources.We are pleased to introduce the recipients of a Battery Powered award under our theme Conserving our Planet... Read more here!

Super plane, satellites help map the Caribbean’s hidden coral reefs

"The flight was part of a mission to create the first ever high-resolution map of coral reefs throughout the Caribbean. In addition to the CAO, more than 100 satellites, drones and scuba divers will contribute data to the map, integrating layers of information at multiple scales. The project is a collaboration between Asner’s new Reefscape Project, which studies reefs around the world; the Arlington, Virginia-based conservation group The Nature Conservancy; and the San Francisco-based private satellite company Planet." Read the rest of the article here!

Mongabay releases a video on our coral reef mapping work in the Dominican Republic

Who would have thought the best way to map and understand coral reefs would be flying 6,500 feet above them? The Carnegie Airborne Observatory, or the CAO, is a flying laboratory packed with remote-sensing equipment, originally developed by NASA, that can dive deep into the chemical composition of coral from high above in an airplane. Led by scientist Dr. Greg Asner, the CAO's Reefscape Project is an effort to revolutionize the way people understand and manage reef ecosystems by mapping coral reefs throughout the Caribbean at high-resolution. This technology is being put to into action by a group of hotels in Punta Cana, conservation organizations, and the the Dominican Republic government to develop a sustainable marine management plan in this popular tourist destination. Watch the video here!


Carnegie scientist Greg Asner and his Reefscape Project play a crucial role in a new partnership that’s responding to the crisis facing the world’s coral reefs and the need for global maps and monitoring systems by harnessing satellite imagery and big data processing. Less than a quarter of the world’s reefs are sporadically mapped or monitored by visual assessment from SCUBA and light aircraft or, in a very few places, lower resolution satellite images...  Read more here!