Multi-temporal UAV data and bject-based image analysis (OBIA) for estimation of substrate changes in a post-bleaching scenario on a Maldivian reef

Luca Fallati, Luca Saponari, Alessandra Savini, Fabio Marchese, Cesare Corselli, Paolo Galli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coral reefs are declining worldwide as a result of the effects of multiple natural and anthropogenic stressors, including regional-scale temperature-induced coral bleaching. Such events have caused significant coral mortality, leading to an evident structural collapse of reefs and shifts in associated benthic communities. In this scenario, reasonable mapping techniques and best practices are critical to improving data collection to describe spatial and temporal patterns of coral reefs after a significant bleaching impact. Our study employed the potential of a consumer-grade drone, coupled with structure from motion and object-based image analysis to investigate for the first time a tool to monitor changes in substrate composition and the associated deterioration in reef environments in a Maldivian shallow-water coral reef. Three key substrate types (hard coral, coral rubble and sand) were detected with high accuracy on high-resolution orthomosaics collected from four sub-areas. Multi-temporal acquisition of UAV data allowed us to compare the classified maps over time (February 2017, November 2018) and obtain evidence of the relevant deterioration in structural complexity of flat reef environments that occurred after the 2016 mass bleaching event. We believe that our proposed methodology offers a cost-effective procedure that is well suited to generate maps for the long-term monitoring of changes in substrate type and reef complexity in shallow water
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2093
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume12
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 30 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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