Using artificial intelligence to save coral reefs


by Esteban Tejedor

Posted on May 13, 2020

Using artificial intelligence to save coral reefs

CORaiL, an artificial intelligence-based solution to monitor, classify and analyse the resistance of coral reefs is currently being developed by Intel, Accenture and the Sulubaaï Environmental Foundation.

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, with more than 800 coral species providing habitat and refuge for approximately 25% of the world's marine life. They are also extremely beneficial to humans as they protect the coasts from tropical storms, provide food and income for a billion people, and generate $ 9.6 billion in tourism and recreational activities a year.

However, according to the United Nations Environment Program, coral reefs are in danger and are rapidly degrading due to overfishing, trawling, rising water temperatures and unsustainable urbanisation of coastlines.

CORaiL was first deployed in May 2019 on the reef surrounding Pangatalan Island, in the Philippines, and has collected around 40,000 images that researchers have used to analyse the health status of the reef in real time.

Engineers are now working on the next-generation CORaiL prototype, which will include an optimised neural network and a backup power source. They are also considering the possibility of using infrared cameras to make night videos to recreate a complete image of the coral ecosystem.

Other uses could include studying the migration rate of tropical fish to colder waters and monitoring intrusion into protected or restricted underwater areas.

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