SL003 – Sri Lanka – GIS habitat mapping prediction – Project description

Project scope


Large scale environmental predictions are of great interest for the elaboration of marine protected areas or marine sanctuary. Based on satellite imagery data, various predictions could indeed be performed on, e.g., the presence of shallow water ecosystems such as coral reef. However these predictions have to be validated and this step requested (i) the elaboration of robust ground truthing data, (ii) the integration of both types of data in GIS system and potentially (iii) the development of prediction models.

Within this specific project, you will use available ground truthing data and satellite imagery data to predict the presence of shallow water coral reef -potentially affected by coral bleaching- on new sites of interest. In parallel, you will collect new ground truthing data for these sites in order to validate the predictions.


Project impact


The information produced by this project will help optimise large-scale ecosystem evaluation and coral reef detection in order to (i) envisage protection plans for these newly discovered sites and (ii) maintain the diversity and abundance of local species. The data collected will provide key information required for the establishment and improvement of efficient ecosystem conservation measures, which will be put in place through continued collaboration with both the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation and local stakeholders.


Specific objectives:
Compare satellite imagery data with ground truthing data using specialized GIS software.
Predict (i) the presence of shallow coral reefs and (ii) the presence of coral bleaching on new sites.
Field validation of the new predictions by collecting ground truthing data for newly investigated sites.

What you will learn

As part of this project, you will acquire skills, knowledge and practical experience in marine ecology and GIS systems. This is a unique opportunity to work alongside local scientists and communities and to learn what marine ecology and field work truly is about.

As such, you will be engaged in scientific research and field data collection aimed at supporting the implementation of a newly established marine protected area.

Develop your GIS data mapping skills
Satellite image analysis
Field data collection (cartography)
Coral reef status evaluation (snorkelling dives)

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