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Proceedings Paper

Detecting coral reef substrate types by airborne and spaceborne hyperspectral sensors
Author(s): Tiit Kutser; Arnold G. Dekker; William Skirving
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Paper Abstract

Traditional approaches to remote sensing of coral reefs have been highly empirical, relying on classification of remote sensing images. We have chosen a physics based approach - the collection of reflectance spectra of different substrates and the determination of the inherent optical properties of the water column. This information, together with radiative transfer models of water and atmosphere as well as technical characteristics of different remote sensing sensors, allows us to estimate what benthic communities are spectrally resolvable with respect to water column depth and the sensor characteristics. A hyperspectral library of more than 140 different coral reefs substrates (living hard and soft corals, dead corals, rubble, sand, algae and sponges) were collected from the Great Barrier Reef. Hydrolight 4.1 model was used to simulate remote sensing reflectances above the water and a MODTRAN3 type in-house atmosphere model was used to simulate radiance at airborne and space borne sensor levels. Most of the spectral variability in reflectance of coral reef benthic communities occurs in the spectral range of 550-680 nm (green to red light). The water itself is a main limiting factor in remote detection of various reef substrates, as water itself is absorbing light strongly in the same part of the spectrum where most of the variability in reflectance spectra of different coral reef benthic substrates occurs. Hyperspectral information allows us to separate different substrates from each other more easily and in deeper waters than broad band sensors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 January 2002
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4544, Remote Sensing of the Ocean and Sea Ice 2001, (14 January 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.452747
Show Author Affiliations
Tiit Kutser, CSIRO (Australia)
Arnold G. Dekker, CSIRO (Australia)
William Skirving, Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (Australia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4544:
Remote Sensing of the Ocean and Sea Ice 2001
Charles R. Bostater; Rosalia Santoleri, Editor(s)

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