The following is an excerpt from JENNIFER BISSET | October 19, 2017 | CNET.com |
Richard Vevers, a British underwater photographer, was horrified when he returned in 2015 to a colourful reef in American Samoa he had shot a year earlier. It had turned pure white.
Vevers, who runs a marine advocacy group called The Ocean Agency, knew bleaching, a process caused by global warming that starves coral, was the cause. He also knew the public didn't understand the ocean's sorry shape because it couldn't see what was going on. Cameras, he reckoned, could help.
So The Ocean Agency partnered with Google to take the search giant's Street View concept underwater at Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It designed a military-grade scooter, with an underwater camera mounted on top worth AU$50,000 (about $39,000 or £29,700). The thousands of photographs it took were then processed by image-recognition software that group wrote for the project.
"As soon as we designed that [technology], the scientists all realised that this could revolutionise the study of coral reefs," Vevers says. "You could suddenly look at coral reefs at a scale that was really unprecedented."
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