Catlin Sponsored ‘Seaview Survey’ Launched to Study Coral Reefs

September 26, 2012

The Catlin group has invited “people around the world” to participate in its newest project, the “Catlin Seaview Survey,” which it, described as “a series of scientific expeditions to explore and survey the world’s coral reefs,” which the group is sponsoring.

Catlin previously sponsored major scientific expeditions in 2009 and 2011, exploring the Arctic, which collected valuable data and made a number of discoveries, including the loss of floating Arctic sea ice. The new study, unlike those in the Arctic, will enable everyone to “follow the expedition.”

The announcement described “breathtaking panoramic imagery of the Great Barrier Reef taken during the Survey off the Australian coast,” which will also “be available in the Street View feature of Google Maps through a global partnership established by the Catlin Seaview Survey and Google.

“Using specially designed, cutting-edge technology and the world’s first tablet-operated underwater camera, the Catlin Seaview Survey will capture up to 50,000 high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic images. When stitched together, these images will allow people to choose a location along the Great Barrier Reef, dip underwater and go for a viewer-controlled virtual dive in Google Maps.”

Catlin also noted thatn the “public will be able to witness the breathtaking imagery at the same time as the Survey collects important scientific data that will give researchers better insights into how climate change could affect coral reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef.”

Apart from the pretty pictures, the survey will undertake some serious science in studying the coral reefs, which, it points out, “are a crucially important feature of the earth’s oceans. Coral reefs act as a risk indicator, providing early warnings of environmental changes occurring across the planet.

“They also provide an important source of food, livelihoods and shoreline protection for tens of millions of people and businesses around the world. If climate change significantly alters the structure of coral reefs, the impact could be far-reaching globally.”

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland and the Survey’s chief scientist, described taking part in the survey as “incredibly rewarding and exciting to be leading a talented team of scientists as the first Catlin Seaview Survey expedition begins.

“The possibilities of what we will discover about coral reefs are almost endless,” he added, “and right now, information on how these endangered ecosystems are responding to climate change is incredibly important, given that almost 25 percent of marine species live in and around coral reefs.”

The Group’s CEO Stephen Catlin noted that the “Seaview Survey will use new technology to gather important scientific information about coral reefs that has never been previously collected.”

He explained that the group “is sponsoring the Survey so that we can better understand the changes that are occurring to our planet. We believe that the more we understand about what is happening to the world in which we live, the better we can decide how to insure the risks we will face in the future.

“We have always taken the view at Catlin that we must do things that are socially responsible and that add value to our risk assessment abilities,” he continued. “To be able to sponsor important scientific research like the Catlin Seaview Survey is a fantastic opportunity and privilege.”

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg noted that all of the scientific data gathered by the Catlin Seaview Survey would be made public in a Global Reef Record database. He also described the “Global Reef Record” as a “game-changing scientific tool that scientists around the world will have at their fingertips. They will be able to monitor change in marine environments now and in the future. Marine scientists researching any aspect of the reef will be able to study these environments from any of the surveys we conduct.”

In addition to providing the scientific community with “access to an unprecedented amount of data regarding coral reefs,” Catlin said the “Seaview Survey will also allow the public to participate using their personal computers, tablets and smart phones.”

“We are partnering with the Catlin Seaview Survey to make this amazing imagery available to more than 1 billion monthly users of Google Maps across the world. Together we want to make these special underwater locations as accessible to people as the roads and landmarks they explore in Google Maps each day,” explained Jenifer Austin Foulkes, Manager of Google’s Oceans Program. The bulletin said: “Already, 1.4 million people are following the Catlin Seaview Survey on Google+.”

The Catlin Seaview Survey will be introduced to a global audience later today, September 26, at the Blue Ocean Film Festival in Monterey, California. Audiences online globally will be treated to the first Catlin Seaview Survey live night dive via a Google+ Hangout, scheduled for 1830 BST/1330 EST.

Source: Catlin Group

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