November 2017

3D models measure growth of corals and external erosion of skeletons

Super excited to present our first article on a novel method to measure coral growth and external erosion!!! There are no more excuses to use old school methods that harm corals (and potentially confound results) to measure their growth, now we can measure change in volume and surface area without even touching them!!!

Measuring growth of tabulate corals like this one

3D models of corals were used to measure the growth and erosion of coral colonies and skeletons in situ over a year. This has not been done before with the fine scale resolution approach that we have taken. We found that dead coral colonies eroded by 52%, while live colonies grew by 20% of their original volume and surface area. 3D models are a very accurate and precise method to quantify both volume and surface area of coral colonies in situ without manipulating them, avoiding negative effects on corals associated with more invasive methods. Our metrics were within the range of previously reported values, which we also briefly review.

This collection is part of the electronic supplementary material of a manuscript published in Scientific Reports (

The 3D models can be found here:

Please refer to it as: Ferrari et al. (2017) 3D photogrammetry quantifies growth and external erosion of individual coral colonies and skeletons. Scientific Reports 7 (16737) DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-16408-z



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