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Published on Jan 1, 2016
John Burns, University of Hawaii Cliff Kapono, University of California San Diego
Summary: Our research used Structure-from-Motion imaging techniques to develop innovative methods for reconstructing coral reefs in 3D. We collect multiple overlapping images from all angles of the coral reef, and use multiple software tools to create high-resolution 3D models. Never before have scientists been able to collect a 3D permanent record of coral reef habitats, as well as measure intricate features of reef structure. This work has allowed us to determine which coral species provide the most complex and dynamic habitat for marine organisms. We have also monitored reef structure over time in order to analyze how disturbances and disease affect coral complexity, and ultimately the diversity and productivity of these underwater environments. The video we created uses immersive 360-degree virtual reality. We filmed with a 360-panoramic GoPro setup to let you virtually explore these environments (https://youtu.be/vG_kFPZjvdw), and our efforts to protect and save these precious ecosystems.
Original Publication: Burns, J., Delparte, D., Gates, R, & Takabayashi, M. 2015. Integrating structure-from-motion photogrammetry with geospatial software as a novel technique for quantifying 3D ecological characteristics of coral reefs PeerJ 3:e1077.