Coral Reef Mapping using hyperspectral imagery

The Dutch Caribbean island Bonaire has been protecting its marine resources for more than 35 years and is ranked as one of the Caribbean’s top dive destinations thanks to its easily accessible diving sites, clear waters and the relatively healthy coral reefs around the island. Coral reefs are important for the ecosystem services they provide including jobs and income to local economies from recreation and tourism. They serve as a natural barrier, protecting the coastlines and as a habitat for many economically important species. 

The general consensus is that the extent and biodiversity of Bonaire’s coral reef is decreasing due to local and regional anthropogenic and global climate pressures. However, the last extensive study of the coral coverage of the reef ecosystem was performed in 1985 by Van Duyl who created an underwater atlas of Bonaire and Curaçao. In order to update this atlas of Bonaire’s coral reefs, a hyperspectral mapping exercise was performed in October 2013 using the Wageningen UR Hyperspectral Mapping System (HYMSY) with 101 spectral channels. 

This news article was published in BioNews 27

BioNews is produced by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance and funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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