Friday, May 28, 2010

Deep reef surveys happening around the world

It seems that May is the month for deep reef video surveys.

Apparently scientists are also surveying coral reefs in the mesophotic zone in Samoa

Here in Bermy, we have been weathered out for the past week, but plan to resume surveys next week of 30m reefs. We have 7 sites remaining to be surveyed as of today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Get involved with BREAM!!!

The BREAM programme relies 100% on funding and donations.

If you would like to support BREAM please go to the Atlantic Conservation Partnership website [link] and specify that you would like your donation to go to BREAM.

Also - We rely on volunteers and intern support.

If you are interested in volunteering as a diver, boater, or in other ways, please contact us at:

Tel: (441) 293-4464 x144

email: tjmurdoch (at)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

18 deep reef sites surveyed by video array

In 3 1/2 "boat" days the BREAM team and volunteers have surveyed 18 sites located at 5-km intervals around the Bermuda reef platform (see the yellow start and end points in map above). We have been using the Bermuda Zoological Society RV Endurance to do the research. Sites are centered at 90ft depth, and occasionally extend up to 75ft and down to a maximum depth of 130ft. At each site we are filming a 500m long transect using HD1080 high def video for analysis of coral community structure and fish population composition. We hope to complete 25 sites in total at the 90ft depth range.

The project is funded by the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme, the Bermuda Zoological Society, the Atlantic Conservation Partnership and the Bermuda Government Department of Conservation Services, and supported by the Department of Environmental Protection.

You can follow the BREAM programme on Facebook at the following link (Facebook)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

First 5 sites surveyed at 80-120 ft depth on South Shore yesterday

Here is the first HD video image from the BREAM drop-camera. This was filmed at 110 ft off South Shore Bermuda in HD1080, from a video camera array hanging 110ft off the boat. The array was about 3ft above the reef. The bright green dots are 2 laser lights set at 10cm. The image is almost exactly 1:1.

more soon. we are going through the first videos from the down-looking and forward-looking cameras now.

Friday, May 7, 2010

30m Reef Surveys using a Video Camera Array

The BREAM video camera array. Circular holes in the front allow internal video cameras to film fishes.

The BREAM team has been busy for the past couple of months designing and building a video camera array, or "drop-camera", to survey coral reefs that are too deep to survey by divers.
A view of the underside of the video array, showing the circular holes
for the video cameras to film through, and the rectangular holes forlights.
BREAM technician Robert Fisher is standing proudly in the background.

The camera array has 2 HD1080 video cameras (with associated pairs of 1500W lights and a pair of green lasers to provide scale in the resultant video) facing downward to film the corals, and an additional pair of HD cameras without lights to film fish. The array also has a lower resolution camera that is wired to the surface by a cable that provides live video that we can see while the array is deployed. This video allows us to keep the array at the correct depth in the water column and hopefully will allow us to avoid unexpected objects etc.

We have been field testing the camera array, and hope to use it to survey reefs at 30m starting next week!

The array was primarily built by BREAM technician Robert Fisher. Video cameras and associated equipment is mounted on a custom-built aluminum frame, which slides on rails into a large fiberglass faring (which is a recycled water-pressure tank). We put the frame in a round faring to minimize the likelihood that the array gets snagged on a rock or piece of abandoned fishing gear etc.
This is the aluminum inner frame onto which video cameras
(with lenses protected by blue tape in this photo) and
lights and lasers are
attached. The frame
slides into the grey faring securely mounted on rails.

Aluminum fins were attached to the sides and the array faring has a tail, like a fish, so that the array tracks properly in the water.

The array is attached to the boat by a rope that connects to the rail along the top of the faring. A separate cable which carries the live video data will also connect to the boat, but is not under tension.

We will survey 25 locations around the entire Bermuda platform, getting the first view of the health and abundance of the corals and fishes on this amazing and important marine habitat!