Satellite-based monitoring of tropical seagrass vegetation: current techniques and future developments

J.G. Ferwerda, J. de Leeuw, C. Atzberger, Z. Vekerdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Decline of seagrasses has been documented in many parts of the world. Reduction in water clarity, through increased turbidity and increased nutrient concentrations, is considered to be the primary cause of seagrass loss. Recent studies have indicated the need for new methods that will enable early detection of decline in seagrass extent and productivity, over large areas. In this review of current literature on coastal remote sensing, we examine the ability of remote sensing to serve as an information provider for seagrass monitoring. Remote sensing offers the potential to map the extent of seagrass cover and monitor changes in these with high accuracy for shallow waters. The accuracy of mapping seagrasses in deeper waters is unclear. Recent advances in sensor technology and radiometric transfer modelling have resulted in the ability to map suspended sediment, sea surface temperature and below-surface irradiance. It is therefore potentially possible to monitor the factors that cause the decline in seagrass status. When the latest products in remote sensing are linked to seagrass production models, it may serve as an early-warning system for seagrass decline and ultimately allow a better management of these susceptible ecosystems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • kruger-national-park
  • remote-sensing data
  • great-barrier-reef
  • water-quality
  • hyperspectral imagery
  • species-composition
  • posidonia-oceanica
  • biooptical model
  • chelonia-mydas
  • south-africa

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