These 3D maps of coral reefs may help us save them
There’s plenty of research about coral reefs bleaching and dying because of warming ocean waters — but one group of researchers is more interested in knowing how corals live and grow. To do that, they’re creating 3D visualizations of coral reefs around the world.
One of these coral reefs is at Palmyra Atoll, an island south of Hawaii. Every year, scientists go back to the island armed with underwater cameras and scuba diving gear. They take thousands of photos of the corals, covering an area of more than 17,000 square feet. In the lab, the photos are then stitched together to create 3D maps that allow researchers to revisit the reef in the comfort of their offices, time traveling from year to year to observe how corals change.