Artificial Intelligence for Coral Reef Monitoring & Protection
Virtual Hackathon on the 16th - 17th September 2021

Click here to sign up now!

Recap of the Event:

"A Predicted Ocean"
by Ocean Decade Laboratories

The ocean has an enormous impact on our planet – its climate, food resources, environment and other significant elements of our lives. By understanding the ever-changing conditions, we will get to "A Predicted Ocean" and sustain a healthy ecosystem. Knowledge and solutions for a sustainable ocean economy are achieved through increased access to data, information, capacities and technologies. This is part of our mission also at Reef Support - to leverage on emerging technology and data from contributing organizations and citizen scientists. On this basis, ocean science can prepare, evaluate and lead the way.

The Predicted Ocean Laboratory uses a value chain approach to bring everyone together – including an organization like us, that develops models and toolkits for marine research to progress. Our goal by working with the Ocean Decade is to address the need for more closely integrated observations and modelling, relevant collaborations around the world and connections to stakeholders and user communities. By embracing the Ocean Decade, the lab innovatively marks a collaborative way forward to establishing a systematic, interdisciplinary ocean prediction, and information systems to benefit society.

Click on the video below to watch the Summary of the Core Event of the Predicted Ocean Laboratories on the 17th September 2021.

About the Hackathon:

Predicting the Future of Coral Reefs with Artificial Intelligence

Reef Support Wave

Part of Satellite Activity: "A Predicted Ocean"
by Ocean Decade Laboratories

Coral reefs are among the world's most diverse ecosystems, with more than 800 species of corals providing habitat and shelter for approximately 25% of global marine life. Coral reefs are also extremely beneficial to humans: They protect coastlines from tropical storms, provide food and income for 1 billion people, and generate $9.6 billion in tourism and recreation each year. But according to the United Nations Environment Programme, coral reefs are endangered and rapidly degrading due to overfishing, bottom trawling, warming temperatures and unsustainable coastal development.

The Challenge:
Together with the public at large, we want to answer the question: "How can we leverage on technologies and innovation to predict phenomena and protect coral reefs for future generations?"

A crucial part of the effort towards protecting coral reefs include mapping, monitoring, analyzing, and restoring them. The process of collecting data for reef monitoring has traditionally been done by divers by capturing video footage and pictures. However, many times, divers have to interfere with their surroundings and it unintentionally affects the results of the survey. In addition, there are practical restrictions such as time spent under water. Overall, there are many gaps which exist in these approaches, be it in terms of in mapping coral reefs or real-time monitoring. We believe some of these gaps can be plugged in by deploying AI and machine learning.

This is why Reef Support has come together with the Ocean Decade Laboratories: A Predicted Ocean to dive deeper into this emerging and potentially world-changing technology.

Challenge Details

  • 17 September: 10.00 AM - 11.00AM
    - Short Presentation on the current state of AI in Marine Science (speaker: Marcel)
    - Short Presentation on frameworks used to create an inclusive model to collect and share data on Coral Reefs
    - Introduction to the Satellite Activity and Hackathon
    - Kickoff!

  • 17 September: 6.00 PM - 7.00 PM
    - Presentations and Pitches
    - Awards and Certificates Ceremony

Platform: Zoom
Everyone should have a valid internet connection during kickoff and final events, as well as throughout the challenge to communicate with other members.

Teams will can be consisted of 2 - 5 people.
In the application please also state the other team members and their emails.
Every member should also apply seperately and include each others' emails.

All timezones are stated in Central European Time CET unless stated otherwise.

The Hackathon will last from 10AM 17th September (Friday) to 6PM on the 17th, that kicks off at 12PM on the 16th, which means in total the challenge will last for 18 hours.

We're looking for researchers, divers, reef managers, marine experts (biologists, ecologists, environmental research), members within national and internation organizations, and members of the public to all join in on our Hackathon.

Contact Details

All participants can contact for technical support or advice during the 18 hour-long hackathon.

How to Participate

In order to participate, all you have to do is sign up through this form attached.


Artificial Intelligence and Coral Reefs

Artificial intelligence through machine learning and computer vision is advancing the power of collecting and processing data for nature conservation. Machine learning algorithms can be applied to identify species, predict extinction probabilities and assess fisheries global data, and this technology could be employed in coral reef ecology studies to understand large-scale impacts, such as those caused by climate change. Several projects have been done by various organizations in the past but there is still a long way to go before we can translate the insights from a computer to predicting future natural conditions that are affecting our coral reefs so that organizations and governments can be mobilised to take the right measures, before wide-spread events (such as bleaching, disease or predatory species outbreak) decimate the seafloor. In this hackathon, we aim to look at different perspectives: governmental organizations to understand how machine learning and big data of marine ecosystems, like coral reefs, can play an important role in preserving these incredible resources.

To read more about AI for Corals, click here to read our blog post.

Sustainability of Research

What we aim to support through the program is also about sustainability of research projects. We believe scientific structures and a continuation of activities are to be ensured in the research programs across the world. Projects can be sustained by engaging diverse stakeholders, for example government support, civil society, private sector, local communities and donors. Our goal through this program is to create long-lasting relationships and cross-border collaborations.

About Reef Support

Reef Support is a startup based in the Netherlands that works on producing insights from a combination of user-driven and satellite data to provide predictive maintenance information on aquaculture, beach resorts and coral conservation. Our mission is to work with coastal communities and organizations that take practical action and through Reef Support’s cutting edge software and data pipelines, to support coastal businesses and the natural marine environment.

About the Ocean Decade and A Predicted Ocean Laboratory

On 5 December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2021 to 2030 the “Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development”, thus creating historic momentum for change. The “Ocean Decade” is a framework for creating and strengthening connections among communities working to study, conserve and sustainably use the ocean and its resources. The Ocean Decade focuses on developing the global scientific capacity to generate and share knowledge that directly contributes to meeting the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other relevant global legal and policy frameworks. A predicted ocean where society has the capacity to understand current and future ocean conditions. Each Laboratory focuses on one of the seven Outcomes of the Ocean Decade. Laboratory participants leverage the opportunity for exchange, collaboration and the creation of sustainable partnerships. It is a self-standing event and encompasses a Core Event that will be complemented by a diverse range of Satellite Activities during a maximum time slot of 48 hours. The Core Event will be hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO).

This event is supported and sponsored by

Other Events to Participate - Reef Support x Fruit Punch AI (coming October 2021)

If you missed out on the Ocean Decade event, and have some knowledge on computer/marine science or some experience programming, do sign up to the Reef Support x Fruit Punch AI challenge coming to you October 2021. This hackathon will look into more AI-related features for coral reefs and even work on the software, which will be running for 3 months till December 2021, where the winners, certificates, and open-source code will be shared and celebrated across the world! The official launch will be in September so keep an eye on that.

Contact us for more information about this event and to sign up!