Developing and scaling up emerging image-based technology for evaluating Mission: Iconic Reefs large-scale coral restoration in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

PI: Viehman, Shay (NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science)
Co-PI(s): Battista, Tim (NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science) : Taylor, Chris (NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science) : Gleason, Art (University of Miami) : Sandin, Stuart (University of California San Diego) : Bruckner, Andy (NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary) : Moore, Tom (NOAA Fisheries Restoration Center) : Enochs, Ian (NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory) : Ladd, Mark (NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center) : Winters, Scott (Coral Restoration Foundation) : Coombs, Ian (Mote Marine Laboratory) : Echevarria, Michael (Reef Renewal USA) : Warrick, Jon (U.S. Geological Survey) : Zawada, Dave (U.S. Geological Survey)
Start Year: 2020 | Duration: 2 years
Partners: NOAA, University of California San Diego, University of Miami, Coral Restoration Foundation, Mote Marine Laboratory, Reef Renewal USA, U.S. Geological Survey

Project Abstract:

Evaluating the success of innovative large-scale, long-term coral restoration such as Mission:Iconic Reefs in the Florida Keys requires 1) leveraging emerging technology in large area imagery (i.e., structure from motion), and 2) developing a unified and common geospatial and visualization framework to provide the capability to seamlessly share information content across disciplines. Large area imagery can provide accurate, precise, and synoptic information on protected coral species and coral reef habitat; these data support quantitative evaluation of change from coral reef restoration at multiple spatial and temporal scales. In this project, we develop and assess transformative technologies in advanced computer vision mapping tools and unmanned underwater systems, and build a foundation for moving three-dimensional geodata processing, archival, and visualization to a cloud platform. We 1) combine underwater image mosaics and high-resolution bathymetry acquired by multiple agencies, academics, and restoration industry partners, 2) apply these three-dimensional data to develop bathymetric co-registration capacity in the image analysis software Viscore, and 3) develop a visualization framework to allow restoration managers, scientists and practitioners to interact with imagery across the spatial and temporal extent of the Mission:Iconic Reefs restoration. This imagery-based evaluation method for reef restoration significantly improves methods for viewing and accessing large area imagery to support the evaluation of coastal habitat restoration and innovative restoration techniques. Expanded use of large area imagery and technology is enhancing ocean science partnerships in exploration and technical innovation and substantially contributing to supporting the large-scale coral restoration of Florida Keys coral reefs that power the American blue economy.