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Climate Variability & Change

Seagrass habitats are characteristic features of shallow waters worldwide and provide a variety of ecosystem functions. Thus assessment and monitoring of seagrass habitats are priorities of coastal managers. In this proposed project, we will focus on one of four of the priority issues identified by GOMA, Identification and characterization of Gulf habitats, and will improve and develop tools for Pinellas County, FL, for carrying out decision-making activities for seagrass habitat assessment, monitoring and management by using NASA spacecraft observations and research results. Specifically, we will: • Examine the capability of existing tools and methods for decision-making activities on rapidly mapping and characterizing seagrass habitat using optical remote sensing; • Improve and develop tools for executing Pinellas County decision-making activities for seagrass habitat assessment, monitoring and management, including validating the tools by conducting a change analysis of seagrass habitat after a major hurricane event. • Deliver the improved/developed tools to the end-user, Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management, for their decision-making activities and educate the enduser about utilization of the new tools. • Provide a protocol for application of the techniques developed in this proposed project that could be adapted for use in management of seagrass beds in other parts of the GOM. We propose to improve/develop tools over “baseline” ones from fully pre-processing image data, adequately utilizing satellite hyperspectral data, using textural information, and developing criteria for assessing seagrass habitats mapped with multi/hyperspectal image data. For this case, some advanced techniques and approaches for image calibration, image transformation, feature extraction, seagrass habitat mapping and assessment, and uncertainty analysis for the new tools will be employed. Finally, the verified innovative tools will be delivered to the end-user, Pinellas County. In short, the new tools will improve associated decision-making activities and potentially save substantial expenses for Pinellas County’s yearly assessment and monitoring of seagrass resources. Moreover, the new tools can also be adapted/applied at sites throughout the GOM.

Project PI: Susan Bell/University of South Florida

SCA 332,University of South Carolina,Division of Integrative Biology, 4202 East Fowler Ave, SCA110 Tampa, FL 33620

Phone: (813) 974-3250

Fax: (813) 974-3263

Email: sbell@usf.edu

http://biology.usf.edu/ib/faculty/sbell/

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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011

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