Scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have published a paper in the journal Coral Reefs, showing how the creation of detailed photomosaics of the reef at Palmyra Atoll, has shown remarkable recurring patterns in the way corals are distributed. The team surveyed 17,000 square feet of reef at Palmyra, some 44,000 coral colony and created 39,000 images that were stitched into 3D photomosaics. Each of these consists of 2,500 to 3,500 images captured with 2 Nikon D7000 16.2 megapixel cameras.
These photomosaics were then analyzed and the spatial distribution of the corals determined from them. The results were quite startling. Team leader Clinton Edwards commented:
““I was, however, quite surprised to find so little evidence for randomness”, and. “There is a level of mathematical texture that the eye just can’t catch and I don’t think anyone expected such consistent results.”
The imagery captured from Palmyra forms a part of the 100 Islands Challenge. This aims to partner with scientists and communities to obtain detailed 3D imagery of reefs in order to observe changes to them over time.