Environmental Management

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 323–339 | Cite as

Satellite Remote Sensing for Coastal Management: A Review of Successful Applications

  • Matthew J. McCarthyEmail author
  • Kaitlyn E. Colna
  • Mahmoud M. El-Mezayen
  • Abdiel E. Laureano-Rosario
  • Pablo Méndez-Lázaro
  • Daniel B. Otis
  • Gerardo Toro-Farmer
  • Maria Vega-Rodriguez
  • Frank E. Muller-Karger


Management of coastal and marine natural resources presents a number of challenges as a growing global population and a changing climate require us to find better strategies to conserve the resources on which our health, economy, and overall well-being depend. To evaluate the status and trends in changing coastal resources over larger areas, managers in government agencies and private stakeholders around the world have increasingly turned to remote sensing technologies. A surge in collaborative and innovative efforts between resource managers, academic researchers, and industry partners is becoming increasingly vital to keep pace with evolving changes of our natural resources. Synoptic capabilities of remote sensing techniques allow assessments that are impossible to do with traditional methods. Sixty years of remote sensing research have paved the way for resource management applications, but uncertainties regarding the use of this technology have hampered its use in management fields. Here we review examples of remote sensing applications in the sectors of coral reefs, wetlands, water quality, public health, and fisheries and aquaculture that have successfully contributed to management and decision-making goals.


Coastal resources Coral reefs Wetlands Water quality Public health Fisheries 



This manuscript is a contribution to the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network. Funding for this work was provided by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Earth and Science Fellowship Program (grant numbers NNX12AN94H and NNX15AN60H), the National Science Foundation FG-LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate (HRD #0929435), the National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research (PIRE) (grant number 1243510), the Environmental Protection Agency Science To Achieve Results (grant number 835193010), NASA’s Airborne Science program for UAS Enabled Earth Science Program (grant number NNH10ZDA001NRA-UAS), NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program Office (grant number NNX14AP62A), the National Science Foundation (grant number AGS-278 1444755), the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science Bridge to the Doctorate Endowed & Alfred P. Sloan Fellowships, the USF Dissertation Completion Fellowship, the Linton Tibbetts Endowed Fellowship, the Sanibel Captiva Fellowship, and the 2016 Gulf Oceanographic Charitable Trust Fellowship. This paper is a result of research funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s RESTORE Act Science Program under award NA15NOS4510226 to The University of Miami.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. McCarthy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kaitlyn E. Colna
    • 1
  • Mahmoud M. El-Mezayen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abdiel E. Laureano-Rosario
    • 1
  • Pablo Méndez-Lázaro
    • 3
  • Daniel B. Otis
    • 1
  • Gerardo Toro-Farmer
    • 1
  • Maria Vega-Rodriguez
    • 1
  • Frank E. Muller-Karger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Marine Remote Sensing, College of Marine ScienceUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgUSA
  2. 2.Aquaculture Department, National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (NIOF)AlexandriaEgypt
  3. 3.Environmental Health Department, Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences CampusSan JuanUSA

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