Opportunities for seagrass research derived from remote sensing: a review of current methods

Bijeesh Veetil, Raymond Ward, Mariana Lima, Milica Stankovitch, Pham Hoai, Ngo Quang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Seagrass communities provide critical ecosystem and provisioning services for both human populations and a wide range of associated species globally. However, it has been reported that seagrass area is decreasing at a rapid rate in many parts of the world, mostly due to anthropogenic activities including global change (pollution and climate change). The aim of this review article is to highlight the range of current tools for studying seagrasses as well as identify the benefits and limitations of a range of remote sensing and traditional methodologies. This paper provides a discussion of the ecological importance of seagrass meadows, and recent trends and developments in seagrass research methods are discussed including the use of satellite images and aerial photographs for seagrass monitoring and various image processing steps that are frequently utilised for seagrass mapping. The extensive use of various optical, Radar and LiDAR data for seagrass research in recent years has also been described in detail. The review concludes that the recent explosion of new methods and tools available from a wide range of platforms combined with the recent recognition of the importance of seagrasses provides the research community with an excellent opportunity to undertake a range of timely research. This research should include mapping the extent and distribution of seagrasses, identifying the drivers of change and factors that confer resilience, as well as quantification of the ecosystem services provided. Whilst remotely sensed data provides an important new tool it should be used in conjunction with traditional methods for validation and with a knowledge of the limitations of results and careful interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106560
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume117
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2020

Keywords

  • Marine environment
  • Coastal management
  • Coastal ecosystems
  • Submerged marine vegetation

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