How big is your camera bag?

Australian researchers are using this impressive bit of camera equipment to capture 360-degree underwater images of how coral reefs are being affected by human activity.  

To date they’ve taken more than a million photos from 860 reefs around the world and made them freely available to scientists via the University of Queensland (UQ) data repository.

“A key obstacle to managing coral reefs is being able to detect how coral reefs are changing, which requires having an appropriate baseline,” says UQ project leader Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

 “Our project developed new technologies for rapidly surveying coral reefs, which improves our ability to determine the condition and composition of reefs, allowing us to better understand how reefs are being impacted by human activities.” 

With each survey typically producing around 1500 images, the team from UQ and not-for-profit organisation Underwater Earth developed machine-learning techniques to classify then analyse them. 

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