Remote sensing of Western Caribbean coral communities

Roatan Island, Honduras. IKONOS image, 4 March 2000Figure 1. Roatan Island, Honduras. IKONOS image, 4 March 2000

Spectral profiles of WCM damage

Figure 2. Preliminary classification of benthic features of Roatan Island, Honduras.

In-situ data collection at Roatan Island, Honduras

Figure 3. In-situ data collection at Roatan Island, Honduras

Principal Investigators: Merlin Lawson, CALMIT, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sunil Narumalani, CALMIT, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Jennifer Keck, Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences, Roatan, Honduras, Michael Hauschild, CALMIT, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Despite wide recognition that coral reefs have biological, aesthetic, and economic value, they are being destroyed at an alarming rate. There is a need to not only develop baseline maps depicting the spatial patterns of coral reefs on a global scale, but to document the changing conditions associated with the world’s reefs over time. Remote sensing has been suggested as a potential tool for monitoring the spatial extent, health, and changes in coral-reef ecosystems. Our work in marine environments began in 1996 with close-range, sub-surface sensing of coral features in the Northern Gulf of Aqaba. Since that time, our efforts have focused on the coral reefs of Roatan Island, Honduras, located in the Western Caribbean.

Methods: The project operates at two levels; 1) in-situ collection and analysis of reflectance spectra; and 2) digital analysis of aircraft and satellite images.

Image Analysis: Work is underway on the digital classification of benthic features in the Roatan coastal zone using collected field data and IKONOS images.


CALMIT logo banner