Volume XL-5/W5
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-5/W5, 61-66, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/isprsarchives-XL-5-W5-61-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-5/W5, 61-66, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/isprsarchives-XL-5-W5-61-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  09 Apr 2015

09 Apr 2015

UTILIZING UNDERWATER THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODELING TO ENHANCE ECOLOGICAL AND BIOLOGICAL STUDIES OF CORAL REEFS

J. H. R. Burns1, D. Delparte2, R. D. Gates3, and M. Takabayashi4 J. H. R. Burns et al.
  • 1Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 2538 McCarthy Mall, Edmondson Hall, Room 216, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
  • 2Department of Geosciences, Idaho State University, 921 S. 8th Ave., STOP 8072. Pocatello, ID 83209, USA
  • 3Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, PO Box 1346, Kaneohe, HI 96722, USA
  • 4Marine Science Department, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, 200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI 96720, USA

Keywords: Coral Reefs, Coral Ecology, Habitat, Photogrammetry, Structure-from-Motion, Structural Complexity, 3D topographic reconstruction, 3D underwater modeling

Abstract. The structural complexity of coral reefs profoundly affects the biodiversity, productivity, and overall functionality of reef ecosystems. Conventional survey techniques utilize 2-dimensional metrics that are inadequate for accurately capturing and quantifying the intricate structural complexity of scleractinian corals. A 3-dimensional (3D) approach improves the capacity to accurately measure architectural complexity, topography, rugosity, volume, and other structural characteristics that play a significant role in habitat facilitation and ecosystem processes. This study utilized Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry techniques to create 3D mesh models for several Hawaiian corals that represent distinct morphological phenotypes. The orthophotos and digital elevation models generated from the SfM process were imported into geospatial analysis software in order to quantify several metrics pertaining to 3D complexity that are known to affect ecosystem biodiversity and productivity. The 3D structural properties of the reconstructed coral colonies were statistically analyzed to determine if the each species represents a unique morpho-functional group. The SfM reconstruction techniques described in this paper can be utilized for an array of research purposes to improve our understanding of how changes in coral composition affect habitat structure and ecological processes in coral reef ecosystems.