Are you concerned about coral reefs and climate change? Do you have an interest in coral reef ecology, GIS and three-dimensional modeling? Then the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) has an opportunity for you.
In 2016, global coral bleaching reached the longest period on record. Thermal stress and light intensity are making it difficult for corals to thrive. In 2014, Hawaii’s coral experienced record levels of bleaching, this followed by continued thermal stress in 2015 and 2016 creating back-to-back bleaching events. This raises some pressing questions as to how these coral reef ecosystems will recover and how long that recovery might take. Our mission at CREP is to provide scientifically sound data on the status and trends of coral reef ecosystems to resource managers and stakeholders as well as the public. Our teams conduct long-term monitoring of coral reefs throughout the U.S. Pacific to better understand the population dynamics, diversity, health and resiliency, as well as threats to these ecosystems including ocean warming and acidification. In an effort to quantify benthic cover, coral recruitment, biomass and changes in benthic communities over time we are employing an emerging technology – Structure from Motion (SfM). Structure from Motion is a photogrammetric method used to create three-dimensional surfaces from two-dimensional images allowing a three-dimensional analysis of the seafloor structure and composition of benthic organisms.
As a team member of this project, your activities could include post-processing of seafloor imagery, classification of sessile organisms and benthic habitats, learn how to create 3D surface models from image series, spatial analysis and map production using ArcGIS, create product documentation (metadata), creating imagery and maps for presentations and outreach, and more. Your activities will be varied and your ability to follow precise instructions, work independently as well as with a team while producing high quality work are crucial.