In January 2020, the Noo Raajje team set off on an unprecedented expedition to study coral reef health, fish and benthic populations, and water quality across the atolls of the Maldives. Led by the Maldives Marine Research Institute, the Waitt Institute, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, this expedition worked to better understand the health of the ocean environment in the Maldives. This data will inform a Marine Spatial Plan in the Maldives and help to make a longterm plan to protect the underwater life and resources that all Maldivians rely on.
Building upon the extensive research from the Maldives Marine Research Institute, this expedition surveyed 16 atolls over 26 days. The team conducted a follow up expedition in 2021 to survey the Southern Atolls.
The full expedition report and video will be released in mid-2021.
mean coral cover
Results suggest that Maldivian reefs have the capacity for recovery following a disturbance.
CATEGORIZE CORAL REEF HEALTH
DETERMINE HUMAN IMPACT ON THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT
INVESTIGATE HEALTH OF TOP PREDATORS
CREATE DATASET ON FISH COUNTS
species found from the IUCN Redlist
individual fish counted
3D CORAL REEF MOSAICS
The 100 Island Challenge and Scripps Institution of Oceanography team used 3D imaging technology to create coral reef mosaics. By swimming across the reef and taking thousands of photos, the team then uses software to stitch the photos together to create a comprehensive image of the reef, which is then analyzed for coral type. These transect dives can be repeated easily in following years, giving researches a comprehensive look at a reef’s health over time.
This 3D reef model depicts the growth in green and loss in red between 2019 and 2020.
“From fisheries to tourism to our way of life, the ocean is a key part of each Maldivian. We are excited that this expedition will build upon existing research being done by the government to explore the sustainable use of the ocean.”
Head of Maldives Marine Research Institute
President Ibrahim Solih, the Speaker of Parliament and former President, Mohamed Nasheed, and the Minister of Fisheries Marine Resources and Agriculture, Zaha Waheed, joined the team along Neykurendhoo Island in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.
They joined scientists underwater at the reefs of Keylakunu to witness how the 3-D imagery is captured of coral reefs, and to enjoy the marine habitat of Keylakunu, an island, and reef that was protected by President Solih in 2018 under the 1 Island, 1 Reef, 1 Mangrove Initiative.
Senior Research Officer
Nizam took photo-quadrats of the reef bottom to understand life in the surveyed reefs and assisted in photo mosaic set up to capture 3-D images of the reef using more than 5,000 images.
Hana leads coral reef-related research at the Maldives Marine Research Institute. She is motivated to protect the ocean in order to preserve its resources for the future.
Aya collected data about the compositions of corals and other algae on the seafloor.
SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL REPORTS