UM Rosenstiel School and Living Oceans Foundation Partner

New science collaboration will translate five-year Global Reef Expedition dataset into insight about the current health of the world’s oceans

MIAMI—The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) announced today a joint science partnership to translate KSLOF’s five-year Global Reef Expedition dataset into insight about the current health of the world’s oceans.

UM Rosenstiel School Professor of Marine Geosciences Sam Purkis will serve as the principal investigator for the joint project, and as KSLOF’s Interim Chief Scientist for the five-year project funded by KSLOF.

The primary goals of the Global Reef Expedition, which took place from 2011-2015, was to map and characterize global coral reef ecosystems, identify their current status and major threats, and examine factors that enhance their ability to resist, survive, and recover from major disturbance events like bleaching, cyclone damage, or crown of thorns starfish outbreaks. 

During the five-year expedition, the Living Oceans Foundation circumnavigated the globe aboard its 220 ft. research vessel, M/Y Golden Shadow, to survey some of the most remote coral reefs on the planet.

The reef expedition generated an unrivaled dataset spanning more than 25 reef provinces across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The data collected were broad— likely the most comprehensive example of “big data” yet compiled for coral reefs. They encompass 95,000 square kilometers of state-of-the-art aircraft and satellite imagery processed to seabed and bathymetric maps, surveys of faunal and genetic diversity, water chemistry and sediment samples, geophysical surveys and assessments of ocean climate.

The new partnership will support a five-year graduate student project.

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About the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation  is a U.S. non-profit, public-benefit foundation established to protect and restore ocean health through scientific research, education and outreach. The Foundation recently completed one of the largest coral reef studies in history - The Global Reef Expedition. KSLOF’s headquarters and core staff are located in Annapolis, MD and work closely with scientists and partners around the world. Visit:

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit:

Living Ocean Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition

Over the course of five years, 22 research missions and 15 countries, the Living Ocean Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition circumnavigated the globe, surveying the health and resiliency of remote coral reefs.

coral reef •  ocean health •