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Article

Assessing the Potential of Remotely-Sensed Drone Spectroscopy to Determine Live Coral Cover on Heron Reef

1
College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University Bebegu Yumba Campus, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
2
College of Science and Engineering/TropWATER, James Cook University Nguma-bada Campus, Cairns, QLD 4878, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Diego González-Aguilera
Drones 2021, 5(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020029
Received: 28 February 2021 / Revised: 8 April 2021 / Accepted: 15 April 2021 / Published: 17 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers of Drones)
Coral reefs, as biologically diverse ecosystems, hold significant ecological and economic value. With increased threats imposed on them, it is increasingly important to monitor reef health by developing accessible methods to quantify coral cover. Discriminating between substrate types has previously been achieved with in situ spectroscopy but has not been tested using drones. In this study, we test the ability of using point-based drone spectroscopy to determine substrate cover through spectral unmixing on a portion of Heron Reef, Australia. A spectral mixture analysis was conducted to separate the components contributing to spectral signatures obtained across the reef. The pure spectra used to unmix measured data include live coral, algae, sand, and rock, obtained from a public spectral library. These were able to account for over 82% of the spectral mixing captured in each spectroscopy measurement, highlighting the benefits of using a public database. The unmixing results were then compared to a categorical classification on an overlapping mosaicked drone image but yielded inconclusive results due to challenges in co-registration. This study uniquely showcases the potential of using commercial-grade drones and point spectroscopy in mapping complex environments. This can pave the way for future research, by increasing access to repeatable, effective, and affordable technology. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; coral reefs; drones; linear unmixing; R; Google Earth Engine remote sensing; coral reefs; drones; linear unmixing; R; Google Earth Engine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cornet, V.J.; Joyce, K.E. Assessing the Potential of Remotely-Sensed Drone Spectroscopy to Determine Live Coral Cover on Heron Reef. Drones 2021, 5, 29. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020029

AMA Style

Cornet VJ, Joyce KE. Assessing the Potential of Remotely-Sensed Drone Spectroscopy to Determine Live Coral Cover on Heron Reef. Drones. 2021; 5(2):29. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020029

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cornet, Valerie J., and Karen E. Joyce. 2021. "Assessing the Potential of Remotely-Sensed Drone Spectroscopy to Determine Live Coral Cover on Heron Reef" Drones 5, no. 2: 29. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020029

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