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Applications of unmanned aerial vehicles in intertidal reef monitoring

Murfitt, Sarah L., Allan, Blake M., Bellgrove, Alecia, Rattray, Alex, Young, Mary A. and Ierodiaconou, Daniel 2017, Applications of unmanned aerial vehicles in intertidal reef monitoring, Scientific reports, vol. 7, doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10818-9.

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Title Applications of unmanned aerial vehicles in intertidal reef monitoring
Author(s) Murfitt, Sarah L.
Allan, Blake M.ORCID iD for Allan, Blake M. orcid.org/0000-0003-0101-3412
Bellgrove, AleciaORCID iD for Bellgrove, Alecia orcid.org/0000-0002-0499-3439
Rattray, Alex
Young, Mary A.ORCID iD for Young, Mary A. orcid.org/0000-0001-7426-2343
Ierodiaconou, DanielORCID iD for Ierodiaconou, Daniel orcid.org/0000-0002-7832-4801
Journal name Scientific reports
Volume number 7
Article ID 10259
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2017-08-31
ISSN 2045-2322
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Community structure
Species richness
Rocky shores
Gradients
Ecology
Coastal
Assemblages
Ecosystems
Diversity
Elevation
Summary Monitoring of intertidal reefs is traditionally undertaken by on-ground survey methods which have assisted in understanding these complex habitats; however, often only a small spatial footprint of the reef is observed. Recent developments in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide new opportunities for monitoring broad scale coastal ecosystems through the ability to capture centimetre resolution imagery and topographic data not possible with conventional approaches. This study compares UAV remote sensing of intertidal reefs to traditional on-ground monitoring surveys, and investigates the role of UAV derived geomorphological variables in explaining observed intertidal algal and invertebrate assemblages. A multirotor UAV was used to capture <1 cm resolution data from intertidal reefs, with on-ground quadrat surveys of intertidal biotic data for comparison. UAV surveys provided reliable estimates of dominant canopy-forming algae, however, understorey species were obscured and often underestimated. UAV derived geomorphic variables showed elevation and distance to seaward reef edge explained 19.7% and 15.9% of the variation in algal and invertebrate assemblage structure respectively. The findings of this study demonstrate benefits of low-cost UAVs for intertidal monitoring through rapid data collection, full coverage census, identification of dominant canopy habitat and generation of geomorphic derivatives for explaining biological variation.
Language eng
DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-10818-9
Field of Research 050104 Landscape Ecology
050206 Environmental Monitoring
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2017, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30102484

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.