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Internship Opportunity

Assessing recovery of scleractinian coral following bleaching events using Structure from Motion (SfM) techniques (HI)

Posted on: 02/22/2017
Research Area(s): Internships / General, Research

Summary / Description

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.


Skills Required

Interns are not required to have previous experience with Structure from Motion techniques. A working knowledge of ArcGIS Desktop and experience with Microsoft Excel is needed. Experience working with digital imagery and knowledge of Hawaiian benthic flora and fauna are not required but preferred. Interns must pay close attention to detail, have strong organizational skills, the ability to focus on repetitive tasks, work with a variety of data and work well independently under the guidance and supervision of a mentor within the CREP team.


The intern will be hosted by NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP), located at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center (IRC), 1845 Wasp Blvd, Building 176 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Note: The IRC is located on a military base. Selected applicants will need to meet several requirements in advance of the internship to gain base access.

Other Information

Intern Supervisor:
Annette DesRochers
Number of Slots Available:
Is free housing available:
Can the student be placed:

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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov