Sofia Ferreira presented her research on innovative 3D mapping technology to examine how underwater cultural heritage sites influence coral reef composition and habitat structure.
A University of Hawai‘i at Hilo marine science student received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Oral Presentation award at the 2020 Hawai‘i Conservation Conference held virtually Sept. 1 -3, 2020.
Sofia Ferreira presented her research entitled, “#500: Examining coral community composition and 3D habitat structure on shipwrecks located in Apra Harbor, Guam.” She used innovative 3D mapping technology to examine how underwater cultural heritage sites influence coral reef composition and habitat structure.
The Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference is sponsored by the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance and is an annual statewide event attended by hundreds of conservationists, scientists, managers, practitioners, and students. Ferreira was awarded $300 in prize money and a brown bag session hosted by the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance and Foundation.
“Sofi is a talented undergraduate student with advanced statistical and data science skills,” says John Burns, assistant professor of marine science who specializes in coral health and the 3D imaging of coral reefs. “She has become an integral part of the Multiscale Environmental Graphical Analysis Lab at UH Hilo.
Guam has a storied maritime history resulting in a high abundance of wrecks in the naval submerged lands surrounding the island. Ferreira worked to analyze 3D maps of natural reefs and wreck substrate to determine if the submerged artifacts influence the composition and growth forms of corals.
“Sofi exemplifies the high caliber of training students obtain in marine science, data science, and Marine Option Program at UH Hilo,” says Burns. “She is directly involved in conducting cutting-edge research, which is exceptional for an undergraduate student. She is well deserving of this award and I look forward to watching her career develop.”