Special Issue "Coastal Environment Monitoring"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Zappalà
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR-IRBIM, National Research Council, Institute for Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnologies, Spianata S. Raineri, 86, 98122 Messina, Italy
Laboratory of Experimental Oceanology and Marine Ecology (LOSEM), Molo Vespucci, 00053 Civitavecchia (Rome), Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy
Interests: environmental monitoring; advanced technologies; data acquisition and transmission; monitoring networks; monitoring systems
Prof. Dr. Marco Marcelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Experimental Oceanology and Marine Ecology (LOSEM), Department of Biological and Ecological Sciences, Tuscia University, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: experimental oceanography; biological oceanography; fluorescence; technological development; marine low-cost technologies; primary production research
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Coastal sites represent very vulnerable environments, not only because they are the water–land interface, but also due to the variety and richness of anthropic activities they host, which that directly or indirectly involve the use of marine or fresh waters (shipyards, maritime transports, aquaculture, fisheries, recreational activities, and so on).

The exploitation of the precious resources of coastal environments is disciplined in the framework of national and international environment protection laws and directives that require a site characterization involving interdisciplinary research activities, through the integration of geology, physics, biology, zoology, chemistry, engineering, etc.

Anthropic activities, with their consequent traffic of ships, cars, and trucks, negatively influence air quality or pollute water bodies; detrimental effects are evident, taking into consideration, among others, the amount of shipyard wastes, aquaculture/fishery wastes, cooling water from industrial plants, and fresh water and sewage effluents released into the environment.

In the last thirty years, a special research interest on coastal advanced monitoring systems has arisen, stimulated by the above-mentioned laws and directives and enabled by the progress in data acquisition and transmission electronic devices that have allowed us to set up and improve low-cost monitoring networks.

Rapid methods and automatic instruments for the detection of microbial and chemical pollutants have been developed and are now in use to assess, almost in real time, the water status; at the same time, autonomous marine vehicles enable studying remote sites which are difficult to be reached; drones can fly over extended study areas to monitor their littoral geomorphology, also hosting airborne instruments for remote sensing, and a great effort is being made both to develop cost-effective technologies and to implement coastal integrated monitoring systems.

This Special Issue aims at hosting contributions on the state-of-the-art of coastal monitoring, focusing on instrumentation development and perspectives; papers dealing with the assessment of environmental status and case studies are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Zappalà
Prof. Dr. Marco Marcelli
Guest Editors

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  • Coastal monitoring
  • Monitoring networks
  • Monitoring systems
  • Data acquisition and transmission Detection methods
  • Pollution indicators
  • Oceanographic platforms
  • Cost-effective technologies
  • Coastal observing systems

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Assessment of the Photosynthetic Response of Posidonia oceanica (Linneaus) Delile, 1813 along a Depth Gradient in the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Latium, Italy)
Geosciences 2021, 11(5), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11050202 - 05 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 587
Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile meadows are recognized to be one of the most productive ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin. Due to the impacts of human activities in coastal areas, seagrasses are experiencing a critical decline. In this context, the understanding of the dynamics [...] Read more.
Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile meadows are recognized to be one of the most productive ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin. Due to the impacts of human activities in coastal areas, seagrasses are experiencing a critical decline. In this context, the understanding of the dynamics of production and photosynthesis in response to the environmental factors is essential to address efficient conservation strategies that limit this trend and to assess the ecological status of marine ecosystems. Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorometry has been widely implemented to assess seagrass health and productivity. Here we analyzed the photosynthetic dynamics of P. oceanica according to its bathymetric distribution and daily light availability along a depth gradient to be used as baseline for monitoring purposes on the health status of the seagrass meadows in the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea. Moreover, to investigate the effects of the environmental factors on the health status of P. oceanica within the study area through a multidisciplinary approach, the models contained in the Civitavecchia Coastal Environmental Monitoring System were used. In this study, significant photo-physiological changes have been observed among the investigated meadows. Moreover, the integration of physiological and hydrodynamic information allowed the description of how P. oceanica modulates its photosynthetic capacity at different environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Environment Monitoring)
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Collaborative 3D Monitoring for Coastal Survey: Conclusive Tests and First Feedbacks Using the SELPhCoAST Workflow
Geosciences 2021, 11(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11030114 - 02 Mar 2021
Viewed by 425
“Structure from Motion” by smart devices photography (SfM-S) is a current promising tool to support 3D participatory monitoring of heritage and geosites. Within the ODySéYeu scientific project, which aims to analyze the sedimentary dynamics around the isle of Yeu (France), a consortium of [...] Read more.
“Structure from Motion” by smart devices photography (SfM-S) is a current promising tool to support 3D participatory monitoring of heritage and geosites. Within the ODySéYeu scientific project, which aims to analyze the sedimentary dynamics around the isle of Yeu (France), a consortium of different local actors was invited to collectively develop an integrated solution to monitor the coastal evolution of the isle in 3D. This new solution is composed of a combination of an application (SENTINELLES de la côte) and a specific workflow (SELPhCoAST), which guides citizens to acquire reliable in-situ photo datasets with their own smart device, facilitates data transmission, and allows both a reliable data treatment and a public presentation of matters and results. This study presents the results of reproducibility and accuracy tests performed on a test-site to validate the SELPhCoAST workflow, over 20 months of monitoring, with multiple operators and devices. Tests show that at least 95% of each SfM-S model is identical to the terrestrial laser scans models within a range of ±5 cm, almost independently of the operator or smartphone model. This study highlights the interest of this cost-effective participatory solution to understand coastal erosion processes, and facilitate the establishment of soft and nature-based solutions of protection, management or restoration of sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Environment Monitoring)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1.  An 'Early Warning System' for the prevention of dredging potential impacts

Abstract: Coastal marine ecosystems are increasingly subjected to multiple pressures and stressors produced by the effects of human activities. Intense and frequent disturbances which affect marine environment can derive from dredging activity, which is a fundamental management for most ports and harbours. The potential environmental effects of dredging procedures are generally due to the excavation of material from the sea bottom and the relocation elsewhere for disposal, overflow from the dredger and loss of material from pipelines during transport. Depending on the location and the intensity of these activities the marine environment, particularly sensitive areas, may be affected by dredging. The main environmental effects can be associated with suspended sediments and increases in turbidity into the water column, which can have adverse effects on marine animals and plants by reducing light penetration and by physical disturbance. For this reason, it is fundamental to implement a monitoring system to control and prevent negative effects, enabling a rapid response to adverse water quality conditions and a fast activation of mitigation procedures, in agreement with all the reference authorities. In this work we present the development of an innovative Impacts Prevention System based on fixed stations, ad hoc in situ surveys and mathematical models which was applied to a dredging activity carried out in the Gulf of Gaeta (Latium, Italy). It represents an extension of the C-CEMS (Civitavecchia Coastal Environmental Monitoring System) network, which is operative in the Tyrrhenian sea since 2005.


2. Classification ensembles for beach cast and drifting vegetation mapping with Sentinel-2 and PlanetScope

Uhl, F.; Rasmussen, T.; Oppelt, N.

Abstract: Along the Baltic coastline of Germany, drifting vegetation and beach cast create overlays at the otherwise sandy or stony beaches. These overlays influence morphodynamics and structures of the beaches. To better understand the influence of these patchy habitats on coastal environments, regular monitoring is necessary. Most studies, however, have been conducted on spatially larger and temporally more stable occurrences of aquatic vegetation such as floating fields of Sargassum. Nevertheless, drifting vegetation and beach cast pose a particular challenge, as they exhibit high temporal dynamics and sometimes small spatial extent. Regular surveys and mappings are the traditional methods to record their habitats, but they are time consuming and cost-intensive. Spaceborne remote sensing can provides frequent recordings of the coastal zone at lower cost. Our study therefore aims at monitoring of drifting vegetation and beach cast on spatial scale of 3 to 10m. We developed an automated coastline separation algorithm and tested six supervised classification methods and various classification ensembles for their suitability to detect small-scale assemblages of drifting vegetation and beach cast in a study area at the coastline of the Western Baltic Sea using multispectral data of the sensors Sentinel-2 MSI and PlanetScope. The coastline separation algorithm shows very high accuracies in masking the land area while preserving the sand-covered shoreline. We could achieve best classification results using PlanetScope data with an ensemble of a random forest, cart classifier, support vector machines, naïve bayes and stochastic gradient boosting. This ensemble accomplished a combined f1-score of 0.95. The accuracy of the Sentinel-2 classifications was lower but still achieved a combined f1-score of 0.86 for the same ensemble. The results of this study can be considered as a starting point for the development of time series analysis of the vegetation dynamics along Baltic beaches.

3. Beach deployment of a low-cost GNSS buoy for determining sea-level and wave characteristics

Abstract: Spatially explicit data on tidal and waves are required as part of coastal monitoring applications (e.g., radar monitoring of coastal change) for the design of interventions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. A deployment over two tidal cycles of a low-cost Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) buoy at Rossall (near Fleetwood), UK demonstrated the potential to record good quality sea level and wave data within the intertidal zone. During each slack water and the following ebb tide, the sea level data were of good quality and comparable with data from nearby tide gauges on the national tide gauge network. Also, the GNSS receiver was able to capture wave information and these compared well with data from a commercial wave buoy situated 9.5km offshore.

Discontinuities were observed in the elevation data during flood tide, coincident with high accelerations and losing satellite signal lock. These were probably due to strong tidal currents, which, combined with
spilling waves, would put the mooring line under tension and allow white water to spill over the antenna resulting in the periodic loss of GNSS signals, hence degrading the vertical solutions. The GNSS buoy set-up was able to transfer data via Wi-Fi at a distance of 250m, thus showing how such an installation could be used for a routine and longer deployments.

4. A combined field observation and modeling approach to estuarine coastal hazard risk assessment and site monitoring

Stephanie M. Dohner, Carter B. DuVal

Abstract: Coastal development and site management have rapidly expanded to estuarine environments and continues to increase in spatial coverage worldwide. With the growth of coastal management projects, field observations are required to understand how anthropogenic construction, coastal defense, environmental restoration, and conservation areas will react to typical, extreme, and long-term conditions at the proposed sites. To address these unknowns, we present a multi-faceted coastal risk assessment of a unique, recently nourished beach in the lower Delaware Bay Estuary (DBE) by merging rapid-response remote sensing platforms, hydrodynamic models, and publicly-available monitoring datasets. This study quantifies background conditions and extreme meteorological event parameters related to six extra-tropical
cyclones (ETC) observed at the Broadkill Beach nourishment site in 2018 with references to historic extreme events in the region such as Tropical Cyclone Sandy in 2012. In situ observations consisted of an acoustic sensor seabed frame measuring full water column hydrodynamics and backscatter while pre- and post-event surveys captured subaerial and subaqueous morphological effects at the beach and nearshore. All March 2018 ETCs were determined to be a single cluster using a 9-day definition. Long-term meteorological records
showed 23 clusters of 9-days occurred in the Delaware Bay region from 1851–2014. Thus demonstrating these events to be part of the regional climate rather than a new phenomenon. Volumetric changes for two-storm clusters were larger than singular events, regardless of event type. Statistical analysis determined extreme event threshold values for the DBE as the following: 1.05 m significant wave height and TWL (2.5 m) above MHHW at the nearest NOAA gauge station in Lewes, DE. These values signal significant coastal risk to the area and serve as a rapid-response flag for coastal management. These values are immediately transferable to project design and management planning in the DBE while the analytical methods are applicable to any coastal areas where continuous in situ monitoring is not feasible. Additionally, this work highlights the importance of clustered extreme meteorological events in estuarine coastal processes and how to quantify the effects through combined field observations and modeling approaches.

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