Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date

11-2013

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Eric J. Hochberg

Second Advisor

Samuel J. Purkis

Third Advisor

Bernhard M. Riegl

Abstract

The fundamental components of a coral reef are coral, algae, and sand. At its simplest assessing the status of a coral reef may be reduced to quantifying the relative benthic cover of these three bottom-types. While in situ surveys can provide an accurate census on an individual reef scale (10s of meters), the only feasible method to surveys coral reefs on a reef tract (10-100s of kilometers) or worldwide scale is through the use of remote sensing. Remote sensing is a means of surveying entire ecosystems. A major issue in remote sensing of coastal environments is the confounding effects of the water column on the signal emerging from the water column. We used a simulation method to model differing levels of environmental parameters, which occur in marine ecosystems, with HydrolightEcolight 5. Simulated data were interpolated with actual bottom; type spectra to determine the accuracy of a classification function developed in MATLAB. The aim was to distinguish bottom-types as well as predict levels of water column parameters. The results of this study demonstrate that bottom-type (78% algae, 84% coral, and 94% sand) and chlorophyll concentration (85-90% across range) are well determined, while depth and suspended sediment load are not as well predicted (<70%) and has a tendency to slightly over predict depth.

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