The Catlin Seaview Survey - kilometre-scale seascape assessment, and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems
December 14, 2019 - 11:28am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2014
Date published: 11/2014
Journal title: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Pages: 184 - 198
- Marine ecosystems provide critically important goods and services to society, and hence their accelerated degradation underpins an urgent need to take rapid, ambitious and informed decisions regarding their conservation and management.
- The capacity, however, to generate the detailed field data required to inform conservation planning at appropriate scales is limited by time and resource consuming methods for collecting and analysing field data at the large scales required.
- The ‘Catlin Seaview Survey’, described here, introduces a novel framework for large-scale monitoring of coral reefs using high-definition underwater imagery collected using customized underwater vehicles in combination with computer vision and machine learning. This enables quantitative and geo-referenced outputs of coral reef features such as habitat types, benthic composition, and structural complexity (rugosity) to be generated across multiple kilometre-scale transects with a spatial resolution ranging from 2 to 6 m2.
- The novel application of technology described here has enormous potential to contribute to our understanding of coral reefs and associated impacts by underpinning management decisions with kilometre-scale measurements of reef health.
- Imagery datasets from an initial survey of 500 km of seascape are freely available through an online tool called the Catlin Global Reef Record. Outputs from the image analysis using the technologies described here will be updated on the online repository as work progresses on each dataset.
- Case studies illustrate the utility of outputs as well as their potential to link to information from remote sensing. The potential implications of the innovative technologies on marine resource management and conservation are also discussed, along with the accuracy and efficiency of the methodologies deployed.