Guam – Research scientists from the NASA Ames Laboratory for Advanced Sensing launched drones over the Piti Marine Preserve Wednesday to accurately map Guam’s priority coral reefs using state-of-the-art sensing technology.
Dr. Ved Chirayath, LAS Director in the Earth Science Division at NASA Ames Silicon Valley, and research engineers Dr. Alan Li and Jonas Jonsson used MiDAR and “fluid lensing” to study two shallow marine habitats – the Tumon Bay Marine Preserve and the Piti Bay Marine Preserve.
The data will be used to create 3D maps of the marine and reef ecosystem in the area.
Fluid lensing removes the turbulent, wave-like motions that form naturally in the ocean in order to create a crystal-clear image of what lies underneath the surface. The sensors use the water surface as a way to magnify the coral through a series of shots over a period of time.
MiDAR is next generation active remote sensing technology, patented by Dr. Chirayath, to
collect multi-spectral datasets of these areas.
Here’s a NASA ScienceCasts video explaining how fluid lensing is used to study coral reefs and help better understand reef ecosystems.
“This technology will be helpful in getting an accurate image of the coral reefs, which
will in turn help research efforts toward conserving the island’s coral,” Acting
Governor Tenorio said. “We are grateful to the Department of Interior for this
opportunity and to NASA for making this technology possible.”
According to Tenorio, the project is part of the administration’s efforts to utilize 21st century technology to help solve community challenges like protecting our coral reefs.
The project is funded in part by NASA and a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs.