Researchers are investigating the impact of rising ocean temperatures on sea life. Coral reefs host some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment. They protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms. Read more about how the FlowCam is helping scientists understand why certain species can survive in higher ocean temperatures.
Thermal fluctuations negatively impact many Caribbean reefs. Increased temperatures can result in the uncoupling of their mutualism with Symbiodinium, causing coral bleaching and potentially coral death.
A recent research paper explores the effect of elevated seawater temperatures on Caribbean stony corals and their algal symbionts. The FlowCam was used to characterize cell density. The value filter within VisualSpreadsheet, based on diameter, circle fit and red:blue color ratio was employed to classify and identify specific algal cells. Scientists were able to leverage the FlowCam to study the health of the algal population in relation to changes in ocean temperature.