PILOT APPLICATION OF 3D UNDERWATER IMAGING TECHNIQUES FOR MAPPING POSIDONIA OCEANICA (L.) DELILE MEADOWS
Keywords: Posidonia oceanica, optical instruments, 3D mapping, 3D reconstruction, quality status
Abstract. Seagrass communities are considered one of the most productive and complex marine ecosystems. Seagrasses belong to a small group of 66 species that can form extensive meadows in all coastal areas of our planet. Posidonia oceanica beds are the most characteristic ecosystem of the Mediterranean Sea, and should be constantly monitored, preserved and maintained, as specified by EU Habitats Directive for priority habitats. Underwater 3D imaging by means of still or video cameras can allow a detailed analysis of the temporal evolution of these meadows, but also of the seafloor morphology and integrity. Video-photographic devices and open source software for acquiring and managing 3D optical data rapidly became more and more effective and economically viable, making underwater 3D mapping an easier task to carry out. 3D reconstruction of the underwater scene can be obtained with photogrammetric techniques that require just one or more digital cameras, also in stereo configuration. In this work we present the preliminary results of a pilot 3D mapping project applied to the P. oceanica meadow in the Marine Protected Area of Capo Rizzuto (KR, Calabria Region – Italy).