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Coral Reefs

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 59–69 | Cite as

Digital analysis of multispectral airborne imagery of coral reefs

  • P. J. Mumby
  • E. P. Green
  • C. D. Clark
  • A. J. Edwards
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Abstract

 The digital airborne sensor, CASI (Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager) has considerable potential for mapping marine habitats. Here we present an account of one of the first coral reef applications. The CASI was flown over reefs of the Turks and Caicos Islands (British West Indies) and set to view 1 m pixels in 8 spectral bands. In addition, reef habitats were sampled in situ by visual assessment of percent cover in 1 m quadrats. Seagrass standing crop was assessed using a calibrated visual scale. Benthic habitats were classified using hierarchical cluster and similarity percentage analyses of the field survey data. Two levels of habitat discrimination were assessed: a coarse level (corals, algae, sand, seagrass) and a fine level which included nine reef habitats. Overall accuracies of CASI-derived habitat maps were 89% and 81% for coarse and fine levels of habitat discrimination, respectively. Accuracies were greatest once CASI data had been processed to compensate for variations in depth and edited to take account of generic patterns of reef distribution. These overall accuracies were significantly (P<0.001) better than those obtained from satellite imagery of the same site (Landsat MSS, Landsat TM, SPOT XS, SPOT Pan, merged Landsat TM/SPOT Pan). Results from CASI were also significantly better than those from interpretation of 1:10 000 colour aerial photographs of reefs in Anguilla (Sheppard et al. 1995). However, the studies may not have been entirely comparable due to a disparity in the areas mapped.

Key words Casi Remote sensing Coral Satellite Airborne 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Mumby
    • 1
  • E. P. Green
    • 2
  • C. D. Clark
    • 1
  • A. J. Edwards
    • 2
  1. 1.Sheffield Centre for Earth Observation Science, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK. e-mail: p.j.mumby@sheffield.oc.ukGB
  2. 2.Centre for Tropical Coastal Management Studies, Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal Management, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UKGB

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