Novel approach to enhance coastal habitat and biotope mapping with drone aerial imagery analysis

João Gama Monteiro, Jesús L. Jiménez, Francesca Gizzi, Petr Přikryl, Jonathan S. Lefcheck, Ricardo S. Santos, João Canning-Clode
2021 Scientific Reports  
AbstractUnderstanding the complex factors and mechanisms driving the functioning of coastal ecosystems is vital towards assessing how organisms, ecosystems, and ultimately human populations will cope with the ecological consequences of natural and anthropogenic impacts. Towards this goal, coastal monitoring programs and studies must deliver information on a range of variables and factors, from taxonomic/functional diversity and spatial distribution of habitats, to anthropogenic stress
more » ... ic stress indicators such as land use, fisheries use, and pollution. Effective monitoring programs must therefore integrate observations from different sources and spatial scales to provide a comprehensive view to managers. Here we explore integrating aerial surveys from a low-cost Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) with concurrent underwater surveys to deliver a novel approach to coastal monitoring. We: (i) map depth and substrate of shallow rocky habitats, and; (ii) classify the major biotopes associated with these environmental axes; and (iii) combine data from i and ii to assess the likely distribution of common sessile organismal assemblages over the survey area. Finally, we propose a general workflow that can be adapted to different needs and aerial platforms, which can be used as blueprints for further integration of remote-sensing with in situ surveys to produce spatially-explicit biotope maps.
doi:10.1038/s41598-020-80612-7 pmid:33436894 fatcat:nsppr7t325auldkp66jjdwjap4