[Coral-List] New paper provides methods for creating 3D reconstructions of coral reefs

John Burns jrburn at gmail.com
Wed Jul 8 13:21:08 EDT 2015

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to share this new publication with you. This study provides
detailed methods for creating 3D reconstructions of coral reefs and
quantifying metrics pertaining to habitat structural complexity that affect
ecological processes.



The structural complexity of coral reefs plays a major role in the
biodiversity, productivity, and overall functionality of reef ecosystems.
Conventional metrics with 2-dimensional properties are inadequate for
characterization of reef structural complexity. A 3-dimensional (3D)
approach can better quantify topography, rugosity and other structural
characteristics that play an important role in the ecology of coral reef
communities. Structure-from-Motion (SfM) is an emerging low-cost
photogrammetric method for high-resolution 3D topographic reconstruction.
This study utilized SfM 3D reconstruction software tools to create textured
mesh models of a reef at French Frigate Shoals, an atoll in the
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The reconstructed orthophoto and digital
elevation model were then integrated with geospatial software in order to
quantify metrics pertaining to 3D complexity. The resulting data provided
high-resolution physical properties of coral colonies that were then
combined with live cover to accurately characterize the reef as a living
structure. The 3D reconstruction of reef structure and complexity can be
integrated with other physiological and ecological parameters in future
research to develop reliable ecosystem models and improve capacity to
monitor changes in the health and function of coral reef ecosystems.



John Burns
Ph.D. Candidate
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
jrburn at gmail.com

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