The collaboration will help scientists map and understand seagrass ecosystems and their ability to absorb and sequester carbon, supporting climate resilience, Indo-Pacific and Australian coastlines, and the people and livelihoods that depend on them to be.
Traditional methods of carbon assessment of coastal and marine ecosystems rely on remote geospatial and aerial sensing platforms. These methods can be affected by cloud cover, the position of the sun and the weather – and extracting results from these images requires costly and time-consuming manual image analysis.
As part of this new collaboration, researchers will aim to use machine learning to collect and analyze images of seagrass and marine wildlife from multiple sources, enabling them to map and model data and insights in a more scalable and cost-effective way.
Scientists, researchers and engineers from Fiji, Indonesia, CSIRO, Google and tides (an ocean health project within X.company) will collaborate on research in the Indo-Pacific and along Australia’s coastline.
The partnership is part of Google’s Digital Future initiative – a $1 billion investment in Australian infrastructure, research and partnerships. It also builds on existing collaborations with CSIRO, including work in the Great Barrier Reef to help find and manage crown-of-thorns starfish.
CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said the initiative brings together the best of CSIRO and Google with DFAT to support climate-smart decisions that strengthen climate resilience and economic growth.
“The combination of Google’s industry-leading artificial intelligence and platform technology, CSIRO’s deep climate, digital and AI expertise, DFAT’s experience in delivering high-quality development programs and skills from our domestic partners will help create tailored and cutting-edge solutions for Australia and the Indo-Pacific,” said Dr. Marshall.
“Leveraging the capabilities of our partners and building on our past success in applying AI and digital technologies will provide unique insights for local communities and national governments addressing major climate challenges.
“CSIRO is a major provider of science and technology in the Indo-Pacific region and we continue to help countries such as Indonesia and Fiji with accessible, scalable and appropriate technologies that can deliver a step change in their ability to meet climate, prosperity and livelihoods, challenges and meeting biodiversity targets.”
Mel Silva, managing director, Google Australia and New Zealand said the collaboration was made possible by the Digital Future Initiative.
“We are excited to partner with CSIRO and DFAT to explore new applications of AI for carbon sequestration. Our shared goal is to support long-term climate resilience and improve access to technology for developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region Silva said.