The 3D Reefs project at the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Group uses images to reconstruct 3D maps of reefs (both coral and rocky reefs). Our 3D maps are used for conservation and ecology of marine ecosystems. 3D maps of reefs can be used to quantify the habitat structure of marine ecosystems, which is one of the 2 most important attributes of coral reefs in a warming ocean. We use our 3D maps to inform management and answer key ecological questions, for example how does massive bleaching events affect the structure of coral reefs? and are there reefs that are more resilient to climate change? which reefs do fish prefer, those that are more complex or less complex? and what is the rate at which coral grow or reefs erode away, under different environmental conditions?
Our volunteers come from all over the world and are normally (but not always) enrolled undergraduate or MSc students, they work with us for a minimum of 3 months, but many decide to stay for longer. During the internship at the 3D Reefs project volunteers learn basic and advanced skills, such as image analyses, coral and other benthic biota id and 3D modelling. These skills have proven useful for both conservation and academic projects.