Outreach and Media
Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab / Catlin Seaview Survey
Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD, Australia, 4067
Cell: +61 0421 727 846
Office: +61 7 336 56009
– Contemporary dynamics and change in tropical marine ecosystems
– Coral reef ecosystem response to global and local stressors
– Optical, remote, and in situ sensing and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems
Ben joins the Coral Reef Ecology Lab as a lead researcher for the Catlin Seaview Survey. Hailing from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, he works on coral reef image interpretation and analysis, generating coral cover and other ecological data, and creating outreach and scientific products. He completed his PhD in 2013, studying the growth and genetic response of Caribbean corals to thermal stress and bleaching. He has conducted marine research in a variety of tropical and temperate locations, has been a commercial fisherman in Alaska, and has worked for federal and state ocean management bodies in the United States. When not diving, he enjoys getting out into nature with his wife Loren, a professor of marine biology, and their young daughter Sonora.
2013 Ph.D. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego: Marine Biology. Dissertation: Long-term coral recovery and endosymbiont changes following the major 2005 thermal disturbance in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Co-advisors: B. Greg Mitchell and Richard Norris.
2007 M.Sc. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego: Marine Biology. Co-advisors: Jeremy Jackson and Enric Sala.
1993 B.A. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire: Geography/Environmental Studies.
Outreach and Media
Media coverage of our work:
Time Magazine: Breaking the waves – Catlin Seaview Survey digitizes the endangered oceans
360 Degree Solomon Islands: A film from our expedition with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation
EuroNews: Mapping the oceans’ coral reefs to try and save them from extinction
Dive the great reefs of the world on Google Street View: Mother Nature News
Jakarta MetroTV News: An underwater sketch of Karimunjawa National Park (in Bahasa Indonesian)
Blogs from recent expeditions:
Reflections on the Maldives (30 March – 21 April 2015)
Contemplating the Chagos Archipelago: Outpost for Coral (9 – 28 February 2015)
Catlin Seaview Survey joins forces with the Living Oceans Foundation in the Solomon Islands (30 October – 12 November 2014)
Karimunjawa National Park (13 September – 10 October 2014)
An introduction to Timor-Leste (23 July – 6 August 2014)
We’re off to the Philippines, first stop Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (14 – 25 March 2014)
Peer Reviewed Publications
Neal, B. P.; R. N. Winter; H. Lin; T. Trebitz; D. Kline; B. G. Mitchell. Improved estimation of two-dimensional area of coral colonies from underwater photographs. In press: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.
Beijbom, O.; Edmunds, P.J; Roelfsema, C.; Smith, J.; Kline, D.I.; Neal, B.P.; Dunlap, M.; Moriarty, V.; Fan, T.; Tan, C.; Chan, S.; Trebitz, T.; Gamst, A.; Mitchell, B.G.; Kriegman, D. Automated analysis of community composition in underwater imagery using machine learning enabled algorithms. PLOS ONE: DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130312.
Treibitz, T.; Neal, B.P.; Kline, D.I.; Beijbom, O.; Roberts, P.; Mitchell, B. G.; Kriegman, D. 2014. Wide Field-of-View Fluorescence Imaging of Coral Reefs. Nature Scientific Reports 5.
Lavi, A.; Neal, B.P.; Loya, Y.; Keren, R.; Eyal, G. A quick, easy, and non-intrusive method for underwater volume and surface area evaluation of benthic organisms by 3D computer modelling. Methods in Ecology and Evolution (DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12331).
McClenachan; L., Neal, B.P.; Al-Abdulrazzak, D., Witkin, T., Fisher, K., and Kittinger, J. 2014. Do Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) improve sustainability? Fisheries Research 157:62-69.
Neal, B. P.; Condit, C.; dos Santos, S.; Liu, G.; Kahru, M.; Kline, D.; Mitchell, B.G. 2013. When depth is no refuge: Cumulative thermal stress increases with depth for corals in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Coral Reefs. 33:193-205.
Beijbom, O; Edmunds, P.J; Fan, T.; Smith, J.; Roelfsema, C.; Dunlap, M.; Moriarty, V.; Neal, B.P., Chan, S.; Treibitz, T.; Kline, D.I.; Mitchell, B.G.; Kriegman, D. 2012. Towards Automated Annotation of Scientific Image Data: A Coral Reef Ecology Study. IEEE Proceedings on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR).
Manuscripts in Progress
Neal, B. P.; Kline, D.; Coffroth, M.A. Changes in Symbiodinum genetic diversity and temporal variation over time and depth for three Caribbean corals. In preparation.
Neal, B. P.; Winter, R.; Treibitz, T.; Beijbom, O.; Kline, D.; Coffroth, M.A.; Mitchell, B. G. Long term, in-situ growth and recovery of the scleractinians Montastrea franksii and Siderastrea siderea following the 2005 Caribbean bleaching event. In preparation.
Selected Recent Presentations
Rapid, high definition, automated underwater sensing of coral reef ecosystems: The Catlin Seaview Survey. International Marine Conservation Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, 14-18 August 2014
Hydrological conditions contributing to the severe heat bleaching in the Caribbean in 2005. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Aquatic Sciences Meeting, New Orleans, LA. 17-22 February 2013
Long term, in-situ growth and recovery of the scleractinian Montastrea franksii following the 2005 Caribbean bleaching event. International Coral Reef Symposium, Cairns, Australia. 9-13 July 2012
Semi-automated photographic processing of coral reef photographs from time series observations at Bocas del Toro, Panama. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Aquatic Sciences Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 13-18 February 2011
Driving the SeaView-II (SV-II) camera system in the Maldives, with a camera calibration transect on the bottom
Healthy Acroporid corals and abundant fish in the western Maldives.
Surveying large coral colonies in the world’s largest marine protected area in the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory).