DOI: 10.3390/oceans4030020 ISSN:

A Demonstration of the Capability of Low-Cost Hyperspectral Imaging for the Characterisation of Coral Reefs

Jonathan Teague, John C. C. Day, Michael J. Allen, Thomas B. Scott, Eric J. Hochberg, David Megson-Smith
  • General Medicine

The use of hyperspectral imaging in marine applications is limited, largely due to the cost-prohibitive nature of the technology and the risk of submerging such expensive electronics. Here, we examine the use of low-cost (<5000 GBP) hyperspectral imaging as a potential addition to the marine monitoring toolbox. Using coral reefs in Bermuda as a case study and a trial for the technology, data was collected across two reef morphologies, representing fringing reefs and patch reefs. Hyperspectral data of various coral species, Montastraea cavernosa, Diploria labyrinthiformis, Pseudodiploria strigosa, and Plexaurella sp., were successfully captured and analyzed, indicating the practicality and suitability of underwater hyperspectral imaging for use in coral reef assessment. The spectral data was also used to demonstrate simple spectral classification to provide values of the percentage coverage of benthic habitat types. Finally, the raw image data was used to generate digital elevation models to measure the physical structure of corals, providing another data type able to be used in reef assessments. Future improvements were also suggested regarding how to improve the spectral data captured by the technique to account for the accurate application of correction algorithms.

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