A Protocol for Extracting Structural Metrics From 3D Reconstructions of Corals

Aston, Eoghan A., Duce, Stephanie, Hoey, Andrew S., and Ferrari, Renata (2022) A Protocol for Extracting Structural Metrics From 3D Reconstructions of Corals. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9. 854395.

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The 3D structure of individual coral colonies provides insights into their ecological functioning. While structure from motion techniques make it possible to reconstruct 3D models of coral colonies based on overlapping images, the extraction of relevant metrics of complexity in a reproducible way remains challenging. We present a method and associated scripts for the 3D reconstruction of coral colonies from in-situ images and the automatic extraction of eleven structural complexity metrics, designed to be run in widely-used software packages. The metrics are designed to capture aspects of complexity relating to the colony’s size and shape that are related to their ecological function. We explored the potential ecological applications of some of these metrics using linear models, comparing aspects of complexity among colonies of different size and morphotaxa (combined information on morphology and taxa). Our results showed that a metric as simple as colony diameter explained 95% of the variation in shelter provisioning capability when paired with information on colony morphotaxa. Further, the habitat provisioning of colonies of comparable size was similar among the six of the seven morphotaxa examined. During the current period of rapid uptake of photogrammetry among ecologists, the results of our study provide a basis to use data derived from 3D models to further explore the nuances of the relationship between structure and function of corals at the colony scale in a replicable and standardised way.

Item ID: 74540
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-7745
Keywords: automation, photogrammetry, spatial refuge, structural complexity, structure-from-motion
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2022 Aston, Duce, Hoey and Ferrari. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2022 02:14
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
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