Advanced Remote Sensing Methods for Coastal Science and Management

Science Center Objects

This project focused on developing algorithms for quantifying benthic habitat complexity from images, modeling the structural complexity of the seafloor, and using fluorescence signatures to classify coral reef habitats. 


Along-Track Reef Imaging System specifications

Shallow, Deep, and Drift ATRIS (Along-Track Reef Imaging System) and system specifications. (Public domain.)

The project included ship-based, multibeam sonar, and diver-based fluorescence imaging systems. Algorithms were developing to characterize and classify features on the seafloor using data collected by both airborne and underwater instrumentation.

Principles of fractal geometry were applied to model the structural complexity of the seafloor. The fluorescent properties of corals were used to improve automated image classification and investigate linkages to coral diseases.

In addition to their scientific merit, these tools benefited a number of research projects, including several tasks within the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project.

Along-Track Reef Imaging System (ATRIS)
ATRIS is a benthic-survey tool that simultaneously acquires geo-located, color, digital images with corresponding water depths.

Modeling Seafloor Structural Complexity
This effort focused on understanding the patterns and scalability of roughness and topographic complexity of marine habitats, such as coral reefs.

Applications of Coral Fluorescence
Fluorescence is an often-overlooked property of reef-building corals that can improve the classification of reef habitats from imagery and provide diagnostic information on corals.

Fractal dimensions of 500-m x 500-m tiles

Fractal dimensions of 500-m x 500-m tiles within the study site. For reference, the 7-m contour is plotted on top of the fractal map. (Public domain.)

Fuorescent images of two coral colonies

Fuorescent images of two coral colonies, Diploria clivosa (left) and Orbicella faveolata (right) growing on the seawall at Ft. Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park. The two colonies are separated by an area of dead coral that has been colonized by algae. In the fluorescent image, red corresponds to chlorophyll and green to GFP. Note that the GFP is concentrated in the center of each coral polyp. (Credit: David Zawada, USGS. Public domain.)