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TitleUsing a commercial drone for mapping ecological phase shifts on the coral reefs of Southern Faafu Atoll, Republic of the Maldives
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LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorFallati, L; Marchese, F; Savini, A; Corselli, C; Zapata Ramirez, P A; Galli, P
SourceProgram and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada; by Todd, B JORCID logo; Brown, C J; Lacharité, M; Gazzola, V; McCormack, E; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8295, 2017 p. 49, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksGeoHab 2017
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Meeting2017 GeoHab: Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping; Dartmouth, NS; CA; May 1-4, 2017
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Program and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
File formatpdf
AreaSouthern Faafu Atoll; Indian Ocean; Maldives
Lat/Long WENS 72.5000 73.5000 3.5000 2.5000
Subjectsgeophysics; marine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; mapping techniques; oceanography; marine environments; coastal studies; conservation; marine organisms; marine ecology; resource management; remote sensing; satellite imagery; modelling; reefs; atolls; landforms; carbonates; climate effects; sea level changes; environmental studies; marine environments; Corals; Biology; Climate change; drones; monitoring
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
Released2017 09 26
AbstractThe Republic of the Maldives is a Small Island Developing State with a unique geographic configuration: an archipelago composed of more than 1100 islands surrounded by coral reefs, grouped into a chain of atolls in the Indian Ocean. The one-metre elevation of most of the atolls' islands makes the Maldives one of the countries highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Maldivian islands are carbonate landforms, totally composed of biogenic sediments produced by the surrounding coral reef. Healthy coral reefs are thus essential for the survival of the Maldivian islands due to their capacity to keep up with rising sea-level. Nevertheless, the Maldivian coral reefs are threatened by anthropic and climatic issues and during April and May 2016 they faced a massive coral bleaching followed by extremely high rates of mortality.
In our study, we collected high resolution images using a commercial drone (DJI Phantom 4) along different sector of reefs surrounding inhabited, uninhabited and resort islands of the Southern Faafu Atoll. The acquired data were processed in order to map the extension and the composition of shallow lagoons habitat, from the beach to the reef crest. Comparing these new results with habitat maps realized using satellite images databases from 2011 to 2016 (RapidEye, Sentinel 2 and LandSat8) and field data (snorkelling and diving transects), we were able to create habitat change maps and correlate these changes to environmental disturbances. In addition, high resolution images (1.5 cm/pixel) were collected in situ, at selected locations, in order to create a 3D model of shallow reef communities using structure from motion photogrammetry technologies. These 3D optical models will be used as the first step of a three year monitoring campaign designed to observe the 3D structural complexity changes of the reef after the 2016 bleaching event.
The whole study will focus on the integration of multi-scale maps to investigate, on a multi-temporal scale, ecological and geomorphological shifts in the study area and to figure out relationships with human activities (agriculture, land reclamation, new infrastructure) and pressures related to global climate change.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The sixteenth annual GeoHab Conference was held this year (2017) at the Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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