The satellites are used to observe marine communities all over the globe, specifically intertidal zones – the areas where many animals and other organisms get trapped between high and low tides. Scientists say they are the harshest environments because of the drastic temperature changes the animals deal with. Scientists don’t know how the temperature changes might affect the organisms’ ability to survive.
University of South Carolina scientists have begun a study looking into that area, specifically among regions in North America dubbed “hot spots,” where the climate change might be endangering different organisms’ survival. This study is funded by the $2.4 million grant awarded to USC from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The results of this project will provide scientists and reserve managers with a novel set of tools for predicting where damage from climate change is most likely to occur in coastal environments. The use of remote-sensing data in this study is an approach that has never been attempted in intertidal environments and opens the door for a novel application of NOAA remote-sensing data to understand and predict the effects of climate change on natural ecosystems.