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Surfing scientists conduct 3D reef research at epic surf break

Diver underwater with sunlight breaking through the surface
MEGA Lab Research Technician Kailey Pascoe maps cloudbreak in Fiji

With greater than 80% of the world’s oceans remaining unexplored, untouched and invisible to people, researchers know extra in regards to the floor of Mars than they do in regards to the ocean. A college of Hawaii at Hilo Professor helps to fill this data hole by main a staff of scientists to map the planet’s main surf breaks in 3D to assist higher defend reefs all over the world.

professors John HR Burns (AH Hilo), Haunani Kane (Arizona State University) and Cliff Kapono (Arizona State University) lately charted Fiji’s Kurukuru Mailani Reef, also called Cloudbreak, which is residence to a few of the largest and greatest waves on this planet. The staff takes high-resolution photographs of the reef and makes use of a method referred to as photogrammetry to create 3D reconstructions that may be examined to offer a greater understanding of reef programs.

“These models will help us understand the composition, properties and ecology of the reef and these waves, which will help us protect them in the face of disturbances like sea level rise,” stated Burns, affiliate professor of marine sciences.

The researchers are skilled surfers and base their work on the Multiscale Environmental Graphic Analysis (MEGA) laboratory in Hilo. The MEGA Lab focuses on inventing new methods to review coral well being and reef formation that have an effect on the form and pace of waves all over the world. The non-profit group is a world consortium of scientists, athletes and artists working collectively to develop modern options to guard the oceans.

AH college students and graduates Kailey Pascoe (MS, UH Hilo, PhD ASU), Crispin Nakoa (MS, UH Hilo, PhD ASU), Atsuko Fukunaga (MS, UH Mānoa) analyze knowledge collected in Fiji and assemble high-resolution 3D reconstructions within the MEGA Lab.

“The 3D maps give us that framework, essentially a foundation of the whole system and its structure, and then we find out what specific corals support different species of fish, and finally we can analyze what elements of the reef are giving us the food and the resources.” ship that we as human beings rely on,” stated Burns.

A challenge is born

The 3D reef mapping challenge that grew out of the MEGA Lab is a collaboration between the Hawaii Island-based lab, surfwear model REEF, and Surfline, a browsing predictions and information website. The challenge began for the primary time in 2021 at the legendary surf break Banzai Pipeline Oahu‘s North Shore. The surf scientists made a number of journeys to the North Shore to {photograph} the well-known surf spot identified for its rugged, sharp reef.

“A lot of funding agencies might see this kind of trip as pure play, but we’re doing real science down here,” Kapono stated.

The staff hasn’t revealed the place their subsequent reef research will happen, however mentions looking for attainable websites within the South Pacific and goals to have interaction native communities within the research.

“It’s important to remember that we are visitors to these places and learning from the indigenous peoples before we impose our tools on the community,” Kane stated.

More in regards to the MEGA Lab

This fall, MEGA Lab celebrated the opening of its new outreach location at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo. The laboratory is open to the general public and presents guests of all ages a spot to be taught and take part in branches of research associated to marine science.

“We actually need to create an interesting place the place folks really feel like they’re a part of science. Science hasn’t been essentially the most welcoming atmosphere shortly. It may be considerably inflexible and sterile. We simply wished to flip this script and present the scholars that you could have enjoyable. You can pursue your passions. You may be your self,” Burns stated.

Visit the MEGA Lab web site for extra info.

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