REMOTE SENSING FOR CORAL REEF STUDIES: TESTING THE WATERS AT BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK
In support of the development and evaluation of a new airborne sensor designed with coral reef environments in mind, a cooperative field campaign was recently conducted in Biscayne National Park for the purpose of measuring relevant in-water/benthic optical properties and submerged topography simultaneously. In August 2002, high-resolution lidar mapping was undertaken in concert with boat-based acoustic mapping and optical profiling. The lidar surveys were conducted with the Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar, which collected time-synchronized georectified digital camera photography and time-resolved lidar backscatter data. Additional measurements of underwater topography were provided by acoustic fathometer, while in situ water-column measurements were made of absorption, attenuation, backscatter, fluorescence, temperature, and salinity. Benthic and remote-sensing reflectances were measured as well. Additional benthic characterization was provided by acoustic surveys and diver observation. The resulting data set has relevance to other Biscayne studies of reef metabolism and geologic controls on modern reef distribution, and is being applied to current challenges in the remote sensing of submerged habitats (e.g., the water-column correction problem) and to fundamental National Park Service needs for high-resolution resource mapping and monitoring.