Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center
USGS Pacific Coral Reefs Website
The photomosaic above shows a large portion of the South Molokaʻi reef tract.
The Molokaʻi reef tract stretches 30 miles (65 km) along the south coast of the island. High-resolution aerial photomosaics provide the basis for mapping shallow-water structures and features of the coral reef. Aerial photography provides an excellent overview of reef habitats due to the typically clear, shallow water. Aerial photography is relatively inexpensive, and with proper planning can allow for optimum conditions (sun angle, cloud cover) during image acquisition. Two problems with using aerials photography for mapping coral reefs are: 1) lack of light penetration in deeper water (greater than 10 to 15 m) limits the overall usefulness of aerial photography as a single-source of information to infer sediment type, and live coral abundance and type, and 2) highly accurate maps must integrate observations that are based on actual in-the-water field observations.
Molokaʻi Mapping Examples