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Prizes & Media - Arjun Chennu

Digitizing the coral reef: HyperDiver Surveys

HyperDiver is a diver-operable spectral surveying tool that I developed along with Paul Färber at MPI Bremen. This novel instrument allows us to capture rich images of shallow marine habitats such as coral reefs, seagrass beds, etc. However, large amounts of coastal survey data is mounting and automated ways of analyzing them are required. For this, I developed software to combine spectral analysis with machine learning ideas to 'learn' how to identify and map coral reef habitats. To do this with great detail to the coral reef taxonomy, I teamed up with Dr. Joost den Haan (MPI Bremen) who is a coral reef specialist and are currently developing this technique.

Our work so far shows great potential to rapidly and comprehensively describe the benthic biodiversity of coral reef ecosystems, an effort I call 'digitizing the coral reef'. We present this idea in a short video.

See the publication for detailed information.

Documentary featuring HyperDiver use in coral reefs

A documentary film "Oceans of the future" by Pierre-François Didek from the "Dream the future" series highlighted the HyperDiver technology and its use to monitor and understand coral reefs. An excerpt from this film is shown here with permission. All rights remain with the original publisher and creators.


Annette Barthelt Prize for best dissertation

  • Prize for best doctoral dissertation in marine sciences by the Annette Barthelt Stiftung
  • GEOMAR article on Annette Barthelt Prize ceremony (29 April 2016)
  • MPI Bremen press release

Hermann Neuhaus Prize from the Max Planck Society

Hermann Neuhaus prize from the Max Planck Society

In 2018, the Max Planck Found­a­tion and the Her­mann Neuhaus Found­a­tion be­stow the first ever Her­mann Neuhaus Prize in his memory. The prize re­cog­nizes out­stand­ing postdoc­toral achieve­ments with ref­er­ence to ap­plied re­search and en­ables the win­ners to fur­ther ad­vance their re­search’s po­ten­tial for ap­plic­a­tion.

The prize was awarded for recognition of achievements towards marine habitat mapping with the invention of the HyperDiver and supporting a spin-off company (

Related press:

Prize ceremony photo of Arjun Chennu for the Hermann Neuhaus Prize 2018

Press articles

  • Article in Ocean Bites about HyperDiver
  • Article in Innovations Report
  • Article in Nature news
  • Article in "Research Success Stories" by the European Commission
  • Article on TARA Oceans: French Polynesia expedition
  • Article in MIT German Technology Review
  • Article in
  • Radio interview with Westdeutscher Rundfunk
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