iFolio Post: LO6 – Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance

During the summer holiday, I participated in a marine learning and research program in an area called Punta Perdiz in Cuba through Operation Wallacea. I learned about the ecology of coral reefs, their significance within ecosystems, and the causes leading to the loss of reefs. Over nearly two weeks of scuba diving, our team collected data on the effects of the three-dimensional structural complexity of coral reefs on sea urchins and the effect of sea urchins on the health of coral reefs.  The project was quite phenomenal as Ph.D. candidates were trying to prove their hypothesis that the structural complexity leads to increased populations of sea urchins which in turn prevent coral reefs from flourishing. We collected data by filming quadrats with GoPro cameras and produced 3D models by compiling photos with software that converted 2D images into 3D models of coral reefs.  We then utilized these 3D models to analyze vector dispersion and other indicators of 3D complexity. I found this personally rewarding as I was able to experience first-hand the intersection of technology and environmental protection and how recent advancements in 3D analysis for software can be used to help guide conservation efforts of coral reefs.

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