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Must-see TV: People can’t get enough of this Hawaii live feed from under the sea

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:35 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Forget binge-watching old TV sitcoms.

Some folks can’t get enough of a live-feed camera run by UH Hilo’s MEGA Lab that’s submerged in the open ocean.

“There are no other cameras like this in the world that are located specifically in this off-shore type location where all forms of reef organisms can come by and be seen,” UH Hilo assistant professor John Burns said.

The camera points at a reef off the westernmost point of the Big Island. Its high resolution images stream 24/7.

“It’s actually mounted upside-down which lets it look in every direction that you would if you were scuba diving on the reef,” Burns said.

MEGA Lab installed the camera last year and hooked it to a YouTube channel.

The sweeping views it offers are amazing.

“We thought maybe we would capture a shark. We see them almost daily. We’ve caught octopus mating, and all these really incredible scenes that we didn’t know occurred right there in that shallow habitat,” Burns said.

Aqua Link collaborates on the project. The company View Into the Blue created the camera that’s called The Octopus.

For a growing number of researchers and others, the uninterrupted feed is must-see TV.

“Even if you aren’t comfortable in the ocean, this is a really awesome spot to check out what types of species we have. You can learn all these little different relationships that the fish have, some of them team up together. Some have napping spots,” MEGA Lab research technician Kailey Pascoe said.

“We’ve got this dedicated community that’s reached out to us from all around the world,” Burns said. “They actually participate, and they’ll record the time and the species that pop up.”

The camera enables MEGA Lab to do advanced marine monitoring that it couldn’t do by sending divers to the site.

“Beyond just observing neat stuff that’s happening in the ocean, we’re actually able to track and monitor fish communities, how they may be responding to changing environmental conditions in a whole different capacity than before,” Burns said.

MEGA Lab hopes the camera will lead to more in the Hawaiian archipelago and eventually in other areas where reefs need monitoring.

For more information, go to TheMEGALab.org.

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