As one of the major coral reefs of the world, the coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys has experienced significant and rapid decline over the past several decades.
Dr. Milton Muldrow, chair of the Environmental Science and Policy program, is working with WilmU senior Sharon Dutton this summer to create maps of the reef by georeferencing meaningful patterns of benthic species (animals living on the bottom of the ocean) as they may change over time.
Dutton is working with several datasets, including data from the Coral Reef Evaluation and Monitoring Project (CREMP), as well as Dr. Muldrow’s own data from researching potential coral reef baselines of the Florida Keys to determine useful benchmarks on which to evaluate the reef.
She is set to conclude her research in August 2017, and will present her work at the Delaware Space Grant poster session next spring.
”Sharon is a bright and active student,” says Dr. Muldrow. “She brought quite advanced skills in working with the GIS software, and has added a great deal to the project already.” GIS software is a geographic information system that stores, manages, and analyzes geographic and spatial data.
Delaware NASA space grant is an education and research program dedicated to promoting future scientists, as well as providing support for scientists working on projects that support NASA’s mission.