An Exploration of Coral Reef Monitoring Using ICESat-2 and Machine Learning

Gabrielle Trudeau
Ph.D. Student


Wednesday, May. 1, 2024, 2:30pm
Chase 130

Coral reefs are among the most vulnerable ecosystems facing the impacts of climate change, making it necessary for robust monitoring techniques to track their health and resilience. While traditional methods of coral reef monitoring require significant manpower, remote sensing technologies offer a promising alternative. The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) provides high-resolution data that can potentially revolutionize coral reef monitoring. This proposal aims to address critical gaps in utilizing ICESat-2 data and machine learning for coral reef monitoring.

Three interconnected chapters will explore: 1) detecting coral reefs using ICESat-2 data, 2) identifying hierarchical habitat classifications, and 3) developing a robust coral reef change-detection methodology. The proposed algorithms and methodologies seek to harness the power of machine learning and data analysis to advance remote sensing techniques for coral reef monitoring. By utilizing ICESat-2 data, this research aims to provide a reliable, cost-effective, and high-resolution alternative for monitoring coral reef changes.


Gabrielle Trudeau graduated with a dual degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Westfield State University in 2021. During her time at WSU, she completed her honors thesis exploring representations of the Fibonacci sequence through the use of graph theory and linear algebra. Gabrielle has continued her education at the University of New Hampshire as a Ph.D. student in the Integrated Applied Mathematics program. After serving as a teaching assistant for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for two years, she is currently a research assistant for the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. Her thesis aims to explore the use of satellite data for coral reef monitoring purposes by utilizing different machine learning techniques. Gabrielle is passionate about mathematics and its numerous applications, and is excited to have found a meaningful way to apply these skills for the betterment of our world.