12 Nov 2015

Science identifying healthy coral reefs could help Pacific nations

10:08 am on 12 November 2015

New science assessing the health of coral reefs could help Pacific nations like Kiribati.

A paper published yesterday has found the healthiest corals are also aesthetically the most beautiful.

The study used computers to rate the 'beauty' of photographs of coral reefs, based on one hunded and nine visual features such as colour and light.


Kingman reef is a remote, uninhabited reef system located in the Central Pacific half way between the Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa. Photo: Supplied / Jennifer E. Smith

The Senior Author of the study Dr Forest Rohwer says the method is inexpensive and could help poor nations like Kiribati preserve coral reefs.

"Hopefully things like this give them more rationale when they go and talk to people about, well we should preserve these reefs because actually they are so exceptional."

The project involved an international team of researchers with expertise ranging from maths and biology to art history.