Andy is off the coast of Far North Queensland as far north as the Saunders Reef imaging coral reefs, some which we had seen just before Tropical Cyclone Ita. This substantially damaged some parts of the reef and the current surveys are part of an effort to monitor its ability to recover giving us an idea of how well these delicate systems can recover from events like this.
This collaboration with The University of Queensland and the Catlin Seaview Survey was headed up from our side by Oscar and we are using the 3D rugosity techniques that were developed by Ari to analyse the small scale habitats in the reef. Rugosity is a measure of the spacial complexity of the reef and a highly rugose reef structure is important for many species of fish for hunting and refuge and is a good indication of reef health.
This is a diver based survey that uses the second generation diver rig camera that we finished developing earlier this year. In this case it is attached to an underwater scooter that allows more ground to be covered. It is far more robust than the original diver-held stereo imaging system and has many navigation sensors and stereo cameras that allow the 3D information to be collected.
Now we are nearing the end of the trip we have collected about half a million images over more that 30 dives covering in excess of 59 linear kilometres.