Although researching coral reefs is not something you’d normally connect with hi-tech, researchers sometimes need more than scuba tanks, waterproof paper, and pencils.
To save coral reefs, researchers are coming up with innovative hardware and software that helps them collect, analyze, and share data.
The Daily Beast reports that the RangerBot is an autonomous underwater robot designed to perform a variety of tasks that include identifying and eliminating Crown-of-Thorns starfish, which prey on coral but also monitoring coral bleaching and water quality.
“Using RangerBots to patrol the reef would be cheaper than human divers, and would traverse more of the reef more quickly and efficiently. The robots are currently undergoing field-testing trials in the Great Barrier Reef. While the system was originally built for specific tasks on the Great Barrier Reef, it can be easily adjusted to meet the monitoring and management needs of other reef systems across the world.”
Another project, called MERMAID, is developing an online and offline app that researchers can use to easily input data that they would otherwise have to enter by hand into a spreadsheet.
It will also include a dashboard showing all locations around the world, where their colleagues have input data into the program.
Still, if we want to save coral reefs, first and foremost we need to fish them less, work on water quality, reduce carbon emissions, and manage tourism.
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