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Proceedings Paper

Long-term remote monitoring of salt marsh biomass
Author(s): M. F. Gross; V. Klemas; M. A. Hardisky
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Paper Abstract

An objective of NASA's Biospheric Research Program is to understand biogeochemical cycling on a global scale. Being both very biologically productive and anoxic, wetlands are major sites of carbon dioxide, mean, and sulfur gas flux on a per area basis. Biogeochemical cycling in wetlands is intricately linked to vegetation biomass production. We have been monitoring biomass dynamics of the dominant salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora for over ten years using remote sensing. Live above ground biomass is highly correlated (r = .79) with Laridsat Thematic Mapper ('IN) and SPOT spectral data transformed into normalized difference vegetation indices. Live belowg round biomass is, in turn, highly correlated (r = .86) with live above ground biomass. Therefore, below ground biomass, a source of carbon substrates for microbial gas production, can be measured using remote sensing indirectly. These relationships have been tested over a wide latitudinal range (from Georgia to Nova Scotia). Analysis of TM and SPOT satellite images from several years has revealed substantial interannual variability in mean live aerial biomass of this species in a 580ha Delaware marsh. Additionally, interannual spatial variability in biomass distribution within the marsh is evident and seems to be linked to precipitation. The aerial biomass of high salinity areas least influenced by upland runoff is the most sensitive to precipitation, whereas marsh areas adjacent to large upland areas or freshwater creeks are the least sensitive. In summary, remote sensing is an effective tool for studying aboveground and belowground biomass in salt marshes. Once the relationship between gas flux data and vegetation biomass is better understood, satellite data could be used to estimate biomass arid gas flux over large regions of the world.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 December 1990
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1300, Remote Sensing of the Biosphere, (1 December 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.21390
Show Author Affiliations
M. F. Gross, Gettysburg College (United States)
V. Klemas, Univ. of Delaware (United States)
M. A. Hardisky, Univ. of Scranton (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1300:
Remote Sensing of the Biosphere
James Alan Smith, Editor(s)

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