Liang et al. 2023. Remote Sensing Detection of Seagrass Distribution in a Marine Lagoon (Swan Lake)

Liang, Hanwei, Lulu Wang, Shengqiang Wang, Deyong Sun, Junsheng Li, Yongjiu Xu, and Hailong Zhang. 2023. “Remote Sensing Detection of Seagrass Distribution in a Marine Lagoon (Swan Lake), China.” Optics Express 31(17):27677–95. doi: 10.1364/OE.498901.

Seagrass, a submerged flowering plant, is widely distributed in coastal shallow waters and plays a significant role in maintaining marine biodiversity and carbon cycles. However, the seagrass ecosystem is currently facing degradation, necessitating effective monitoring. Satellite remote sensing observations offer distinct advantages in spatial coverage and temporal frequency. In this study, we focused on a marine lagoon (Swan Lake), located in the Shandong Peninsula of China which is characterized by a large and typical seagrass population. We conducted an analysis of remote sensing reflectance of seagrass and other objectives using a comprehensive Landsat satellite dataset spanning from 2002 to 2022. Subsequently, we constructed Seagrass Index I (SSI-I) and Seagrass Index II (SSI-II), and used them to develop a stepwise model for seagrass detection from Landsat images. Validation was performed using in situ acoustic survey data and visual interpretation, revealing the good performance of our model with an overall accuracy exceeding 0.90 and a kappa coefficient around 0.80. The long-term analysis (2002-2022) of the seagrass distribution area in Swan Lake, generated from Landsat data using our model, indicated that the central area of Swan Lake sustains seagrass for the longest duration. Seagrass in Swan Lake exhibits a regular seasonal variation, including seeding in early spring, growth in spring-summer, maturation in the middle of summer, and shrinkage in autumn. Furthermore, we observed an overall decreasing trend in the seagrass area over the past 20 years, while occasional periods of seagrass restoration were also observed. These findings provide crucial information for seagrass protection, marine blue carbon studies, and related endeavors in Swan Lake. Moreover, our study offers a valuable alternative approach that can be implemented for seagrass monitoring using satellite observations in other coastal regions.

Fig. 5. Flowchart of the remote sensing model for seagrass detection. SSI-I and SSI-II denote the seagrass spectral index I and II, respectively. A and B are the thresholds of SSI-I and SSI-II, respectively.