In situ Estimation of Coral Recruitment Patterns From Shallow to Mesophotic Reefs Using an Optimized Fluorescence Imaging System

Hagai Nativ, Federica Scucchia, Stephane Martinez, Shai Einbinder, Alex Chequer, Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley, Tali Mass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Coral recruitment represents a key element for coral reef persistence and resilience in the face of environmental disturbances. Studying coral recruitment patterns is fundamental for assessing reef health and implementing appropriate management strategies in an era of climate change. The FluorIS system has been developed to acquire high resolution, wide field-of-view (FOV) in situ images of coral recruits fluorescence and has proven successful in shallow reef environments. However, up to now, its applicability to mesophotic coral ecosystems remains unknown due to the complexity of the system and the limited time available when working at mesophotic depth. In this study we optimized the FluorIS system by utilizing a single infrared-converted camera instead of the bulkier regular dual-camera system, substantially reducing the system complexity and significantly decreasing the acquisition time to an average of 10 s for a set of 3 images. Moreover, the speed-FluorIS system is much more economical, decreasing the cost of the full set-up by roughly 40% compared to the original dual-camera system. We tested the utility of the speed-FluorIS by surveying coral recruits across shallow and mesophotic reefs of the Red Sea (Gulf of Eilat) and Bermuda, two of the most northerly reefs in the world with markedly different substrate and topography, and demonstrate that the modified system enables fast imaging of fluorescence to study coral recruitment patterns over a broader range of depths and reef topographies than previous fluorescence methods. Our single-camera system represents a valuable, non-invasive and rapid underwater tool which will help standardize surveys and long-term monitoring of coral recruits, contributing to our understanding of these vital and delicate early life stages of corals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number709175
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the joint United States National Science Foundation and United States – Israel Binational Science Foundation (NSF #1937770 to GG-G; BSF #2019653 to TM) the ASSEMBLE Plus consortium for an access grant (ref. SR16022018108e1) to the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat and a Grant-in-Aid from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).

Funding Information:
We would like to thank T. Triebitz, A. Avni, and A. Meri-Esh for technical support. Additional thank go to Eran Rozen, diving safety officer of the Morris Kahn Research Station, and the IUI staff. Funding. This project has received funding from the joint United States National Science Foundation and United States ? Israel Binational Science Foundation (NSF #1937770 to GG-G; BSF #2019653 to TM) the ASSEMBLE Plus consortium for an access grant (ref. SR16022018108e1) to the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat and a Grant-in-Aid from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Nativ, Scucchia, Martinez, Einbinder, Chequer, Goodbody-Gringley and Mass.

Keywords

  • coral recruitment
  • ecological monitoring
  • fluorescence
  • underwater imaging
  • underwater survey tool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering

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