CONDUCTING TRAININGS IN CRF™ PHOTOMOSAIC METHODS
Coral reef restoration is an emerging conservation strategy with Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) at the helm of innovative, large-scale techniques. Finding the right outplanting methods and monitoring long-term success across different sites are central to our work.
In the early days, we planted a few thousand corals each year, with divers manually checking 20% of these. But this approach was time-consuming and only provided a snapshot of individual corals, not the wider ecosystem. With the rapid increase in outplanting – now thousands of corals each month – we needed a more comprehensive way to monitor success. Enter photomosaics, our new site monitoring approach implemented in 2021, which provides a holistic view of the reefs and allows us to measure coral-covered surface area.
However, scientific advancements are not just for us – they're meant to be shared, enhancing restoration efforts everywhere. Navigating photomosaic technology can be tricky, so we're here to lend a hand. At the Reef Futures Conference workshop in September 2022, we started sharing our progress. Now, we offer virtual mosaic training headed by our Photomosaic and Technology Coordinator, Alex Neufeld, and Director of Restoration Strategy, Jessica Levy. Our first trainees? The team at Roatan Marine Park Authority.
In these trainings, we discuss the history and theory behind photomosaics, the pros and cons, and the process we use at CRF. We dive into the details of camera settings, image collection, and even our automated stitching software, CeruleanAI, making the process more accessible. We also explain how to gather metrics on coral growth using the final images.
Our photomosaic process is just one tool in the box; not every method suits every project or location. We share our knowledge, allowing other organizations like Roatan to adapt our methods to their unique needs. As we continue collaborating with Roatan and others, we're optimistic about scaling up restoration across our blue ocean planet.
TALKING SCIENCE CONTENT CREATOR
Sage grew up landlocked in Colorado but was fortunate to travel to the ocean growing up. Her interest in the unique creatures she found inspired her to start her marine science journey by volunteering at the Denver Aquarium. She attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, earning a bachelor's of science degree in marine biology in 2019. After graduating and moving an island over to Kauai, she earned her PADI open water SCUBA instructor certification in order to spend as much time as possible underwater while searching for her next career step. After spending months searching, Sage found the internship at CRF and realized this opportunity was too good to pass up and moved to the Florida Keys. She is ready to make a difference at the forefront of active reef restoration made possible through CRF internship.