Google Maps has teamed up with the Catlin Seaview Survey to create 360-degree panoramas of coral reefs around the world.
Coral Reef Health
The underwater images will help researchers measure the health of coral reefs.
Great Barrier Reef
The team has explored the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia and is currently exploring the southern Caribbean.
Climate change and coastal development pose a serious threat to coral reef ecosystems.
A human-driven underwater scooter equipped with sophisticated cameras is used to capture the photos.
Anyone with Internet access can virtually explore these vibrant coral reef environments.
Coral Reef Life
Coral reefs are home to many different species, including tropical fish and manta rays.
Overfishing is taking a toll on reefs, which depend on fish to keep algae populations in check.
The reef is home to mammals as well.
Regular citizens can help scientists keep track of the wildlife that call the reefs home.
Scientists are using image recognition software to identify corals and other organisms.
Appreciating Coral Reefs
Less than 1 percent of humans have ever dived on a coral reef, according to project leader Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a reef scientist at the University of Queensland, Australia.
One of the project's aims is to increase public awareness of the threats coral reefs face.
Over time, scientists will be able to measure how the reefs respond to pressures from the environment.
Live Science Staff,
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