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Ultra-high-resolution mapping of Posidonia oceanica (L.) delile meadows through acoustic, optical data and object-based image classification
journal contributionposted on 05.10.2021, 04:44 by Sante F Rende, Alessandro Bosman, Rossella D Mento, Fabio Bruno, Antonio Lagudi, Andrew IrvingAndrew Irving, Luigi Dattola, Luca D Giambattista, Pasquale Lanera, Raffaele Proietti, Luca Parlagreco, Mascha Stroobant, Emilio Cellini
In this study, we present a framework for seagrass habitat mapping in shallow (5-50 m) and very shallow water (0-5 m) by combining acoustic, optical data and Object-based Image classification. The combination of satellite multispectral images-acquired from2017 to 2019, together with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photomosaic maps, high-resolution multibeam bathymetry/backscatter and underwater photogrammetry data, provided insights on the short-term characterization and distribution of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, 1813 meadows in the Calabrian Tyrrhenian Sea. We used a supervised Object-based Image Analysis (OBIA) processing and classification technique to create a high-resolution thematic distribution map of P. oceanica meadows from multibeam bathymetry, backscatter data, drone photogrammetry and multispectral images that can be used as a model for classification of marine and coastal areas. As a part of this work, within the SIC CARLIT project, a field application was carried out in a Site of Community Importance (SCI) on Cirella Island in Calabria (Italy); different multiscale mapping techniques have been performed and integrated: the optical and acoustic data were processed and classified by different OBIA algorithms, i.e., k-Nearest Neighbors' algorithm (k-NN), Random Tree algorithm (RT) and Decision Tree algorithm (DT). These acoustic and optical data combinations were shown to be a reliable tool to obtain high-resolution thematic maps for the preliminary characterization of seagrass habitats. These thematic maps can be used for time-lapse comparisons aimed to quantify changes in seabed coverage, such as those caused by anthropogenic impacts (e.g., trawl fishing activities and boat anchoring) to assess the blue carbon sinks and might be useful for future seagrass habitats conservation strategies.