Wide Field-of-View Fluorescence Imaging of Coral Reefs

Tali Treibitz, Benjamin P. Neal, David I. Kline, Oscar Beijbom, Paul L.D. Roberts, B. Greg Mitchell, David Kriegman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coral reefs globally are declining rapidly because of both local and global stressors. Improved monitoring tools are urgently needed to understand the changes that are occurring at appropriate temporal and spatial scales. Coral fluorescence imaging tools have the potential to improve both ecological and physiological assessments. Although fluorescence imaging is regularly used for laboratory studies of corals, it has not yet been used for large-scale in situ assessments. Current obstacles to effective underwater fluorescence surveying include limited field-of-view due to low camera sensitivity, the need for nighttime deployment because of ambient light contamination, and the need for custom multispectral narrow band imaging systems to separate the signal into meaningful fluorescence bands. Here we describe the Fluorescence Imaging System (FluorIS), based on a consumer camera modified for greatly increased sensitivity to chlorophyll-A fluorescence, and we show high spectral correlation between acquired images and in situ spectrometer measurements. This system greatly facilitates underwater wide field-of-view fluorophore surveying during both night and day, and potentially enables improvements in semi-automated segmentation of live corals in coral reef photographs and juvenile coral surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7694
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by NSF grant ATM-0941760. Tali Treibitz was an Awardee of the Weizmann Institute of Science – National Postdoctoral Award Program for Advancing Women in Science. We thank Charles Mazel and Dimitri D. Deheyn for useful discussions; Adi Khen and Tsung-Han Lin for image annotations and programming; Lee Peterson from Marine Camera for imaging advice and support; Dalal Al-Abdulrazzak and Noah Ben-Aderet for field work; the Birch aquarium at Scripps for aquaria support; the UC Gump station, Moorea LTER project, and Peter Edmunds and Vinny Moriarty for collaboration in French Polynesia; and the Smithsonian Tropical research Institute for Panama facilities.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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