Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles


Detection of Shallow Subtidal Corals from IKONOS Satellite and QTC View (50,200 kHz) Single-Beam Sonar Data (Arabian Gulf; Dubai, UAE)

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Remote Sensing of Environment


IKONOS, QTC view, Optic-acoustic comparison, Habitat mapping, Coral reef, Arabian Gulf







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We compared the results of seafloor classifications with special emphasis on detecting coral versus non-coral areas that were obtained from a 4×4-m pixel-resolution multispectral IKONOS satellite image and two acoustic surveys using a QTC View Series 5 system on 50 and 200 kHz signal frequency. A detailed radiative transfer model was obtained by in situ measurement of optical parameters that then allowed calibration of the IKONOS image against in situ optical measurements and a series of ground-truthing points. Eight benthic classes were distinguished optically with an overall accuracy of 69% and a Tau index T of 65. The classification of the IKONOS image allowed discrimination of three different coral assemblages (dense live, dense dead, sparse), which were confirmed by ground-truthing. Data evaluation of the acoustic surveys involved culling of datapoints with <90% confidence and <30% probability, two QTC-provided statistics, and the deletion of data classes without clear spatial patterns (visualized by single-class trackplots). The deletion of these ubiquitous classes was necessary in order to obtain any clearly interpretable spatial pattern of echo classes after the surveys were resampled to a regular grid and areas between the lines interpolated using a nearest neighbor algorithm. The 50 kHz acoustic seafloor classification was able to determine two classes (unconsolidated sand versus hardground) but was not able to determine corals. The 200 kHz survey determined high rugosity (=corals and sand ripples) versus low rugosity (=flat areas) but was not able to determine consolidated and unconsolidated sediments. Classes were extrapolated to the entire grid and polygons obtained from the two surveys were combined to provide maps containing four classes (rugose hardground=coral, flat hardground=rock, rugose softground=ripples and algae, flat softground=bare sand). Compared with the classification map derived from the IKONOS image, they were 66% accurate (T=59) when the most highly processed data (only selected classes, >90% accuracy and >30% probability) were used, and 60% accurate (T=53) when less processed data (selcted classes only, all data) were used. Accuracy against ground-truthing points of the most highly processed dataset was 56% (T=46). These results indicate that results from optical and acoustic surveys have some degree of commonality. Therefore, there is a potential to produce maps outlining coral areas from optical remote-sensing in shallow areas and acoustic methods in adjacent deeper areas beyond optical resolution with the limitation that acoustic maps will resolve fewer habitat classes and have lower accuracy.


©2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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NOOA grant #s: NA16OA1443, NA03NOS4260046; FWF grant #: P13165-GEO




B-8552-2013; F-8807-2011



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