Ocean Expert Exchange with Will Greene

In this webinar, PIMS Research Associate Will Green shows us how he uses cutting-edge camera and computer technology to create 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional models of coral reefs. Specifically, Will:

  1. Explains how the process works (both underwater and on a computer)
  2. Demonstrates the ways the technology is used for scientific research and for educating the public.

PIMS is especially interested in how the models, which are created with a resolution of about 0.5 milimeters, can be analyzed by researchers to learn about the structural complexity of reefs and which organisms blanket the surface of the reef. Moreover, when data is collected at the same site over time, these models can show us how the reef changes and adapts down to the coral polyp scale. These “digital copies” of reefs essentially preserve exactly what a reef looked like at the time it was photographed, and can be re-analyzed in the future as our research evolves.

Using the 3D models for education is another incredibly important use of the technology. They’re a useful tool to teach future scientists how to identify different species of coral and understand where they grow. The reefs can also be visualized in Virtual Reality, allowing people to explore the reefs from at home and gain a whole new appreciation for their importance and beauty!

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