We have just arrived back in Australia after five weeks surveying the Mesoamerican Reef in the Caribbean for the Catlin Seaview Survey.
In total, we surveyed over 40 sites in Mexico and Belize, covering an unprecedented 85 kilometres of the Mesoamerican Reef. These sites provide a good representation of all possible coral reef habitats along the second largest barrier reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef.
Using the specialized SVII camera, we collected 38,700 panoramas from the region. These images are now being processed back at our Image Labs HQ where we will create 3D models of the reef that will illustrate reef habitat diversity and offer a better understanding of reef health in the area.
We experienced first hand the positive effects a well-maintained marine park can have on reef health (Glover’s Reef) and saw the inevitable march of the lionfish as it eats its way across the Caribbean. We swam with hawksbill turtles, Caribbean Reef sharks and clouds of plastic washed up from countries throughout the Caribbean region.
We now have 3 weeks back in the laboratory at the University of Queensland to prepare for the next leg of our Caribbean expedition, time enough to make some repairs on the equipment and finalise logistics for our upcoming locations.