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Renata Ferrari Legorreta.jpg

Dr. Renata Ferrari

Research Associate


Personal webpage


Australian Institute of Marine Science
1526 Cape Cleveland Road
Cape Cleveland 4810,
Queensland, Australia 

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Renata works to understand and conserve ecosystems into the future. Her expertise in marine ecology and conservation developed from the urge to understand drivers of ecosystem change, which evolved into a multidisciplinary set of skills, spanning extensive fieldwork, 3D remote sensing, and advanced statistical modeling. 

Her research combines field and laboratory data to predict ecosystem trajectories across space and time. For example, she uses 3D maps to quantify the change in coral reef structure as a result of environmental change impacts, such as heat stress. The tools and models she has developed inform the management of marine and coastal ecosystems in several countries. 

Education and Professional Experience:

  • B.Sc. Biological Sciences - Universidad de las Americas, Mex

  • Ph.D. in Spatial Marine Ecology- The University of Queensland

  • Postdoctoral Fellow - The University of Sydney - 3D Ecological Modelling Hub



Novel underwater 3D mapping technologies exist but are just starting to be used effectively to map, restore, and monitor marine ecosystems. Renata’s research uses 3D mapping technologies to monitor and restore marine ecosystems. For example, 3D maps can be used to quantify the surface area of corals and reefs at millimetric resolution.


To date, Renata’s research has improved our capacity to monitor, predict, and respond to environmental change impacts. Yet, the oceans are large and she thinks we need more data and more people using 3D technologies. 3D technologies are orders of magnitude more accurate and precise than current methodologies used to study marine ecosystems. This is important because they can be used to quantify habitat attributes driving ecological processes and ecosystem trajectories, such as coral growth and contraction. We can use 3D technologies to improve predictions of what and how corals will change over time. If we can precisely understand how ecosystem builders will change as a consequence of an impact, such as climate change, we will be better equipped to manage it and promote its adaptation and restoration.


3D models can be used to measure the growth of corals and external erosion of skeletons over time and in situ. 3D models are excellent for measuring the change in volume and surface area. 3D models are a very accurate and precise method to quantify both volume and surface area of coral colonies in situ without manipulating them, avoiding negative effects on corals associated with more invasive methods.

The 3D models for this project can be found here:

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