Hyperspectral imaging as a tool for assessing coral health utilising natural fluorescence

Jonny Teague, Jack Willans, Michael Allen, Tom Scott, John Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
361 Downloads (Pure)


Fluorescent proteins are a crucial visualisation tool in a myriad of research fields including cell biology, microbiology and medicine. Fluorescence
is a result of the absorption of electromagnetic radiation at one wavelength and its reemission at a longer wavelength. Coral communities
exhibit a natural fluorescence which can be used to distinguish between diseased and healthy specimens, however, current methods, such as the
underwater visual census, are expensive and time-consuming constituting many manned dive hours. We propose the use of a remotely operated
vehicle mounted with a novel hyperspectral fluorescence imaging (HyFI) “payload” for more rapid surveying and data collection. We have tested
our system in a laboratory environment on common coral species including Seriatopora spp., Montipora verrucosa, Montipora spp., Montipora capricornis, Echinopora lamellose, Euphyllia ancora, Pocillopora damicornis and Montipora confusa. With the aid of hyperspectral imaging, the coral specimens’ emission wavelengths can be accurately assessed by capturing the emission spectra of the corals when excited with light emitting diodes
(395–405 and 440 nm). Fluorescence can also provide an indicator of coral bleaching as shown in our bleaching experiment where we observe
fluorescence reduction alongside coral bleaching.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbera7
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Spectral Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019


  • Coral
  • Hyperspectral imaging
  • Fluorescence
  • fluorescent proteins (FPs)
  • chlorophyll


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