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Satellite Remote Sensing of Seagrass Dynamics on Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize

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title
Satellite Remote Sensing of Seagrass Dynamics on Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize
author
Gorelick, John McCauley
abstract
Seagrasses are critically important coastal habitats, providing many ecosystem services however, global estimates suggest seagrass is declining at a rate of -7%/yr. Anthropogenic pressures such as eutrophication, overfishing and climate change are commonly linked to changes of seagrass cover extent. This study used satellite remote sensing techniques to monitor 8-years of seagrass spatial and temporal dynamics on Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize (LHR) and asked (1) is seagrass cover declining and how does the rate of loss compare to the global estimate. And (2) is the seagrass loss spatially heterogeneous? Nine Landsat 8 images were analyzed in Google Earth Engine with a support vector machine classifier to identify the presence and absence of seagrass in the lagoon of LHR. Seagrass maps were created with an average overall accuracy of 81.6%. A small temporal decline in seagrass cover of 1.5 km2 was found between 2014 and 2022 (-0.18%/yr) but analysis showed a highly dynamic seascape of seagrass growth and loss between years. The findings in this study suggest increased sea surface temperatures, ENSO events and fishing disturbance could be related to the slight seagrass cover decline over the 8-year study period. However, more satellite imagery data could help link these suggested drivers to the seagrass change.
subject
Decline
Dynamics
Google Earth Engine
Remote Sensing
Satellite
Seagrass
contributor
Silman, Miles R (advisor)
Floge, Sheri (committee member)
Dickson, Rebecca (committee member)
Asner, Greg (committee member)
date
2023-09-08T08:35:22Z (accessioned)
2023-09-08T08:35:22Z (available)
2023 (issued)
degree
Biology (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/102607 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Thesis

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