A multidisciplinary approach to mapping, monitoring and modeling marine ecosystems

Table11_3DModel_negative_bright

School of Life and Environmental Sciences | The University of Sydney |  Australia

The shallow reefs of our seas are amongst the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Yet these areas are also typically the most heavily impacted by the ever-expanding human footprint. Impacts such as coastal development and climate change induced coral bleaching are driving dramatic changes to the habitats that serve as the basis for these incredibly diverse systems.

The 3D Reefs Project is a synergy of science and engagement which uses the latest innovations in imaging technology to shed much-needed light on the problems faced by our shallow reef systems, and also to offer solutions. We use the process of photogrammetry to build high resolution models of everything from individual coral colonies to hundreds of square metres of reef. The incredible detail offered by these models allows us to track growth and erosion rates of coral reefs resulting from cyclone damage or coral bleaching. We can also pull apart the various aspects of the structural complexity of these habitats to better understand their importance to different groups and types of organisms living on them. This allows us to predict changes in fish assemblages as a result of events such as coral bleaching or the replacement of coastal rocky reef by seawalls and jetties.

We can also go further to use this information to design the structural elements of remediation efforts, for instance the 3D printing of specific coral models from our library to replace complexity lost on bleached reefs over the short to medium term recovery period. The 3D models we develop also serve as a powerful outreach and communication tool, serving up something that is out of sight and mind to the majority of people in a compelling and engaging way, allowing them to observe the beauty of these systems in a truly interactive manner. The Project is built heavily around off the shelf components, allowing broad applicability within not only the science community but opening doors to citizen science as well. The 3D Reefs Project aims to engage the public in the plight of these systems, grow our scientific understanding of them and develop practical short term solutions to mitigate the ongoing impacts.

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A multidisciplinary approach to mapping, monitoring and modeling marine ecosystems

Table11_3DModel_negative_bright

School of Life and Environmental Sciences | The University of Sydney |  Australia

The shallow reefs of our seas are amongst the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Yet these areas are also typically the most heavily impacted by the ever-expanding human footprint. Impacts such as coastal development and climate change induced coral bleaching are driving dramatic changes to the habitats that serve as the basis for these incredibly diverse systems.

The 3D Reefs Project is a synergy of science and engagement which uses the latest innovations in imaging technology to shed much-needed light on the problems faced by our shallow reef systems, and also to offer solutions. We use the process of photogrammetry to build high resolution models of everything from individual coral colonies to hundreds of square metres of reef. The incredible detail offered by these models allows us to track growth and erosion rates of coral reefs resulting from cyclone damage or coral bleaching. We can also pull apart the various aspects of the structural complexity of these habitats to better understand their importance to different groups and types of organisms living on them. This allows us to predict changes in fish assemblages as a result of events such as coral bleaching or the replacement of coastal rocky reef by seawalls and jetties.

We can also go further to use this information to design the structural elements of remediation efforts, for instance the 3D printing of specific coral models from our library to replace complexity lost on bleached reefs over the short to medium term recovery period. The 3D models we develop also serve as a powerful outreach and communication tool, serving up something that is out of sight and mind to the majority of people in a compelling and engaging way, allowing them to observe the beauty of these systems in a truly interactive manner. The Project is built heavily around off the shelf components, allowing broad applicability within not only the science community but opening doors to citizen science as well. The 3D Reefs Project aims to engage the public in the plight of these systems, grow our scientific understanding of them and develop practical short term solutions to mitigate the ongoing impacts.

 

A multidisciplinary approach to mapping, monitoring and modeling marine ecosystems

Table11_3DModel_negative_bright

School of Life and Environmental Sciences | The University of Sydney |  Australia

The shallow reefs of our seas are amongst the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Yet these areas are also typically the most heavily impacted by the ever-expanding human footprint. Impacts such as coastal development and climate change induced coral bleaching are driving dramatic changes to the habitats that serve as the basis for these incredibly diverse systems.

The 3D Reefs Project is a synergy of science and engagement which uses the latest innovations in imaging technology to shed much-needed light on the problems faced by our shallow reef systems, and also to offer solutions. We use the process of photogrammetry to build high resolution models of everything from individual coral colonies to hundreds of square metres of reef. The incredible detail offered by these models allows us to track growth and erosion rates of coral reefs resulting from cyclone damage or coral bleaching. We can also pull apart the various aspects of the structural complexity of these habitats to better understand their importance to different groups and types of organisms living on them. This allows us to predict changes in fish assemblages as a result of events such as coral bleaching or the replacement of coastal rocky reef by seawalls and jetties.

We can also go further to use this information to design the structural elements of remediation efforts, for instance the 3D printing of specific coral models from our library to replace complexity lost on bleached reefs over the short to medium term recovery period. The 3D models we develop also serve as a powerful outreach and communication tool, serving up something that is out of sight and mind to the majority of people in a compelling and engaging way, allowing them to observe the beauty of these systems in a truly interactive manner. The Project is built heavily around off the shelf components, allowing broad applicability within not only the science community but opening doors to citizen science as well. The 3D Reefs Project aims to engage the public in the plight of these systems, grow our scientific understanding of them and develop practical short term solutions to mitigate the ongoing impacts.

 

A multidisciplinary approach to mapping, monitoring and modeling marine ecosystems

Table11_3DModel_negative_bright

School of Life and Environmental Sciences | The University of Sydney |  Australia

The shallow reefs of our seas are amongst the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Yet these areas are also typically the most heavily impacted by the ever-expanding human footprint. Impacts such as coastal development and climate change induced coral bleaching are driving dramatic changes to the habitats that serve as the basis for these incredibly diverse systems.

The 3D Reefs Project is a synergy of science and engagement which uses the latest innovations in imaging technology to shed much-needed light on the problems faced by our shallow reef systems, and also to offer solutions. We use the process of photogrammetry to build high resolution models of everything from individual coral colonies to hundreds of square metres of reef. The incredible detail offered by these models allows us to track growth and erosion rates of coral reefs resulting from cyclone damage or coral bleaching. We can also pull apart the various aspects of the structural complexity of these habitats to better understand their importance to different groups and types of organisms living on them. This allows us to predict changes in fish assemblages as a result of events such as coral bleaching or the replacement of coastal rocky reef by seawalls and jetties.

We can also go further to use this information to design the structural elements of remediation efforts, for instance the 3D printing of specific coral models from our library to replace complexity lost on bleached reefs over the short to medium term recovery period. The 3D models we develop also serve as a powerful outreach and communication tool, serving up something that is out of sight and mind to the majority of people in a compelling and engaging way, allowing them to observe the beauty of these systems in a truly interactive manner. The Project is built heavily around off the shelf components, allowing broad applicability within not only the science community but opening doors to citizen science as well. The 3D Reefs Project aims to engage the public in the plight of these systems, grow our scientific understanding of them and develop practical short term solutions to mitigate the ongoing impacts.

Get involved

There are many ways to get involved in the 3D Reefs project, depending on your interests and skills.

I supervise internships for undergraduate and postgraduate students and have an open internship program for anyone that is keen to develop their skills in marine ecology and conservation.

I also supervise several Master and PhD students doing research projects that are closely related to 3D Reefs, both in Australia and overseas, mainly through The University of Sydney.

You can also support our research through the donations by clicking here.

If you are interested in our data and publications please click here.

 

 

 

Donate

3D Reefs was selected by the University of Sydney Inspire Campaign as their “In the field” category this year (2017) – if you want to support this research please click here and donate to the Coral Reef Research category. All funds will go directly towards the 3D Reefs project.

 

Collaborations

My research is supported by The University of Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Conservation Leadership Programme.

In Australia have successfully collaborated with the Integrated Marine Observing System, the Australian Centre of Field Robotics, the Sydney Institute of Environment, the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences, The University of Queensland, the Global Change Institute, The University of New South Wales, the New South Wales Government, and the Marine Biodiversity Hub at the National Environmental Research/Science Programme, James Cook University, the University of Western Australia, the University of Tasmania, the University of Melbourne, and the Queensland University of Technology, among others.

Internationally, I also have on going collaborations with the SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography, the California State University of Northridge, the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Global team, the University of Cambridge and the Conservation Leadership Programme among others.

My research is also featured in several conservation networks, such as the Conservation Guide and the Society for Conservation Biology.

Contact

Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Group

Ecological 3D Modelling Hub

School of Life & Environmental Sciences | Room 147 | Edgeworth David Bld.
Science Road | University of Sydney | NSW
2006 | Australia
renata.ferrari@sydney.edu.au | twitter: @DrFerrari