This study used a reef-up approach to map coral reef benthos, substrates and bathymetry, with high spatial resolution hyperspectral image data. It investigated a physics-based inversion method for mapping coral reef benthos and substrates using readily available software: Hydrolight and ENVI. Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager (CASI) data were acquired over Heron Reef in July 2002. The spectral reflectance of coral reef benthos and substrate types were measured in-situ, and using the HydroLight 4.2 radiative transfer model a spectral reflectance library of subsurface reflectance was simulated using water column depths from 0.5-10.0 m at 0.5 m intervals. Using the Spectral Angle Mapper algorithm, sediment, benthic micro-algae, algal turf, crustose coralline algae, macro-algae, and live coral were mapped with an overall accuracy of 65% to a depth of around 8.0 m; in waters deeper than 8.0 m the match between the classified image and field validation data was poor. Qualitative validation of the maps showed accurate mapping of areas dominated by sediment, benthic micro-algae, algal turf, live coral, and macro-algae. A bathymetric map was produced for water column depths 0.5-10.0 m, at 0.5 m intervals, and showed high correspondence with in-situ sonar data (R2 value of 0.93).
Leiper, I., Phinn, S., Roelfsema, C., Joyce, K., & Dekker, A. (2014). Mapping coral reef benthos, substrates, and bathymetry, using compact airborne Spectrographic Imager (CASI) data. Remote Sensing, 6(7), 6423-6445. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs6076423