Abstract: Increasing human populations around the world’s coastline have caused extensive loss, degradation and fragmentation of coastal ecosystems. Swift losses of coastal ecosystems have been recorded, but a lack of high-resolution spatial data on the distribution and change of coastal wetlands has hindered our ability to monitor change and respond effectively to this challenge. Fortunately, advances in distributed computing and improved access to vast archives of earth observation data have enabled advanced remote-sensing analyses of land cover change at the global-scale. In this seminar, I will present one of the world’s largest ecosystem remote sensing projects, Global Intertidal Change (https://intertidal.app), conducted to investigate the changing distribution of tidal wetlands over the last three decades. The analysis utilised 22,000 computers in parallel to process more than 700,000 Landsat satellite images, returning high-resolution maps of the intertidal zone for the period 1984−2016. The dataset reveals the global distribution of the tidal flat ecosystems and illuminates remarkable patterns of coastal change driven by both natural and anthropogenic processes. I will also introduce the upcoming intertidal.earth dataset, which extends the global intertidal change analysis to other ecosystem types, as well as several other global remote sensing analyses currently underway, including mangrove degradation and fine-scale coral reef mapping.
Biography: Nick is a senior research fellow and ARC DECRA fellow at the College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University. Nick has a broad research program that spans the fields of risk assessment, remote sensing, conservation biology and ecology. Nick has worked extensively around the world to investigate the status of a wide range of ecosystem types, research for which he was awarded the 2015 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research as part of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems science team. Twitter: @remotelysense