Using VIIRS remote sensing imagery and a GLM model with eigenvector spatial filtering to study sea turtle nest densities in relation to nighttime artificial light pollution

Authors: Zhiyong Hu*, University of West Florida
Topics: Environment, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Marine and Coastal Resources
Keywords: VIIRS, sea turtle, light pollution,nesting density, remote sensing, GIS,generalized linear model, eigenvector spatial filtering
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research examined nighttime artificial light pollution effect on nest densities of the three main sea turtle species, including green turtles, loggerheads, and leatherbacks, along Florida beaches. Sea turtle survey data was obtained from the “Florida Statewide Nesting Beach Survey program” (SNBS). Satellite sensor “Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)” (version 1 D/N Band) nighttime annual average radiance composite image data was used as a light pollution exposure indicator. Light pollution was defined such that pixels values are greater or equal to 1.14×10-11 wm-2sr-1. A generalized linear model (GLM) with eigenvectors spatial filtering (GLM-ESF) was fitted for each specie to examine the association of nest density with light pollution. The model is robust and reliable in terms of the ability to deal with data distribution and spatial autocorrelation (SA) issues violating model assumptions in traditional regression models. Negative effects of light pollution on sea turtle nest density for all species along Florida beaches were found: the higher light pollution, the lower nest density. Light pollution influences nest density in descending order from green turtles, to loggerheads, and then to leatherbacks. The research findings have implications for sea turtle conservation policy and ordinance making. The VIIRS DNB light data, having significant improvements over comparable data by its predecessor, the DMSP-OLS, shows promise for continued and more accurate research about ecological effects of artificial light pollution.

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