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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Using in situ measurements (red triangles), we modelled above ground biomass in over 20,000 benthic photos (inset) and a time-series of seagrass maps (main image). Image: Digital Globe; Photo: Chris Roelfsema

Lyons M, Roelfsema C, Kovacs E, Samper-Villarreal J, Saunders M, Maxwell P, Phinn S


Rapid monitoring of seagrass biomass using a simple linear modelling approach, in the field and from space


Lyons and colleagues addressed a critical management issue; how to monitor above-ground seagrass biomass both rapidly and at large spatial scales. They modelled relationships between in situ above ground biomass and seagrass percentage cover, per seagrass species, allowing biomass estimation from both point-based and landscape scale (>100 km2) seagrass data. Firstly, the biomass component of each seagrass species was estimated in over 20,000 benthic photos and then the approach was adapted to estimate biomass from a time-series of seagrass percentage cover and dominant species maps. Their method provides accurate estimation of above-ground biomass and is not only more time and resource efficient than existing methods, but is sufficiently robust and generalizable for application at large spatial or temporal scales.


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