Abstract Title

Historic Water Quality Trends in the US Virgin Islands and Future Implications on Coral Reef Health

Abstract

Coral reefs provide essential economic, cultural, and biological services that affect humans worldwide. Despite their vital importance, coral reef ecosystems have been increasingly subject to degradation in recent years, largely due to anthropogenic activity. The reefs of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) are no exception. The objective of this study is to examine historic trends in water quality in select areas of USVI by analyzing a time series of remote sensing data. Ten coastal Landsat satellite images from the same month of ten consecutive years will be selected for analysis. The images will be processed using varimax-rotated principal component analysis (VPCA) in combination with two ratio indices: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI.) Through the use of these methods, pigment assemblages in the water column can be identified and associated with water quality indicators such as suspended sediment and algal biomass. Results will indicate which signal most strongly contributes to the component analysis, and the spatial distribution of the respective water quality indicator may be evaluated. Corresponding in-water data may also be considered, provided that it coincides with the accurate location and time. The long-term trends established from this study will serve as a basis for the fieldwork arrangements of a larger, more in-depth study. This investigation will use a combination of remote sensing and field data to examine water quality and its implications on local coral reefs in the USVI.

Modified Abstract

Despite their vital importance, coral reefs have been increasingly subject to degradation in recent years. The reefs of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) are no exception. The objective of this study is to examine historic trends in water quality in select areas of USVI by analyzing a time series of remote sensing data. Ten coastal Landsat satellite images will be processed using varimax-rotated principal component analysis (VPCA) in combination with two ratio indices: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI.) Through the use of these methods, pigment assemblages in the water column can be identified and associated with water quality indicators such as suspended sediment and algal biomass. Current water quality data and implications on reef health will be subsequently evaluated.

Research Category

Geology/Geography

Primary Author's Major

Biology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Joseph Ortiz

Mentor #2 Information

Dulci Avouris

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

March 2016

Research Area

Geology | Integrative Biology | Marine Biology | Oceanography

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Mar 15th, 1:00 PM

Historic Water Quality Trends in the US Virgin Islands and Future Implications on Coral Reef Health

Coral reefs provide essential economic, cultural, and biological services that affect humans worldwide. Despite their vital importance, coral reef ecosystems have been increasingly subject to degradation in recent years, largely due to anthropogenic activity. The reefs of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) are no exception. The objective of this study is to examine historic trends in water quality in select areas of USVI by analyzing a time series of remote sensing data. Ten coastal Landsat satellite images from the same month of ten consecutive years will be selected for analysis. The images will be processed using varimax-rotated principal component analysis (VPCA) in combination with two ratio indices: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI.) Through the use of these methods, pigment assemblages in the water column can be identified and associated with water quality indicators such as suspended sediment and algal biomass. Results will indicate which signal most strongly contributes to the component analysis, and the spatial distribution of the respective water quality indicator may be evaluated. Corresponding in-water data may also be considered, provided that it coincides with the accurate location and time. The long-term trends established from this study will serve as a basis for the fieldwork arrangements of a larger, more in-depth study. This investigation will use a combination of remote sensing and field data to examine water quality and its implications on local coral reefs in the USVI.