Research

Digitizing the Deep

Did you know, we know more about the surface of our moon than we do the depths of our oceans?! Thats right, we have actually only explored roughly 5% of the seafloor…. 5%!!!

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Researchers are still exploring the depths of our oceans, bringing to light creatures that have remained hidden in plain sight. With new technological advancements, this is an exciting time to be a researcher, explorer, and citizen of Earth. Our recent advancements offer new potential to explore the deep, and learn more about our world. With the oceans occupying over 70% of Earth’s surface, thats A LOT of territory to discover.

Bubblegum coral, a species of deep sea coral, found over 1,000m deep.

Bubblegum coral, a species of deep sea coral, found over 1,000m deep.

The deep sea hosts a number of mysterious habitats and species— like submarine lakes, mountain ranges, and canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. Discovery of these new habitats has led to identification of new species, with many more still unknown. Scientists have even discovered deep sea coral— species of coral that don’t depend on sunlight to survive.

Although we can’t all dive down and investigate the great unknown, 3D technology allows researchers to share the deep sea with us!

Using photogrammetric techniques, researchers are able to generate 3D models of coral and other deep sea discoveries. These models can then be used for outreach and educational tools, for others to learn about the dark depths of our oceans.

Abigail Engleman takes images of a deep sea coral sample to recreate using photogrammetry. Photogrammetry techniques can recreate even fine-scale detail, as seen in the model on the right.

Abigail Engleman takes images of a deep sea coral sample to recreate using photogrammetry. Photogrammetry techniques can recreate even fine-scale detail, as seen in the model on the right.

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This, and other 3D tools, offer new methods for researchers to non-invasively study our oceans, while visually sharing their findings with others around the world!