Loss of intertidal ecosystem exposes coastal communities

Artificial intelligence and extensive satellite imagery have allowed researchers to map the world’s intertidal zones for the first time, revealing a significant loss of the crucial ecosystem.

The University of Queensland and University of New South Wales study has shown that global foreshore environments declined by up to 16 per cent between 1984 and 2016.

Professor Richard Fuller, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, said the zone between low and high tide lines protected more than 625 million people around the world from storms and sea level rises.

“Identifying areas where intertidal zones are being lost to development and rising seas is critical to safeguard coastal communities,” Professor Fuller said.

“Our research will have significant international benefits, with more than 1.4 billion people expected to live in coastal areas by 2060.”

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