“Using remote sensing technology to analyze coastal erosion and vegetation loss in Aucoot Marsh in Marion Massachusetts, and its effect on diamond terrapin (malaclyemys terrapin) nesting sites.”

Authors: Jacob Cabral*,
Topics: Remote Sensing, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: Remote sensing, drone, erosion, habitat loss, coastal ecosystem
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Climate change poses a tremendous threat to coast lines. Increases in sea level and extreme high tides cause erosion to beaches. The shape of barrier beaches is constantly changing due to the increase of severe weather events. It is important to have current and accurate maps of beaches to measure how rapidly the shape of the environment is changing.

The Aucoot Marsh in Marion, Massachusetts was chosen as the study area because the estuary is home to the diamondback terrapin (malaclemys terrapin). Diamondback terrapins nest above normal high tides in a mix of sand and shell fragments. Recently, extreme storm surges and abnormal high tides have been eroding the beach, compromising possible nesting sites for the terrapin. The purpose of the experiment is to map the beach, using remote sensing technology, over the course of three months and determine coast line and vegetation loss.

A Phantom DJI 3 drone was deployed on three separate occasions at the marsh. A flight plan was constructed and the drone flew over the estuary taking pictures. Equipped with an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and an NIR (Near Infrared) camera, a series of pictures were captured and stitched together to generate a map using Drone2Map software. The map was analyzed using ENVI software and a classification system grouped similar land surfaces together. Three maps were examined to determine whether the shape of the Aucoot Marsh was changing and theorize if space for future diamond terrapin nesting sites were in jeopardy.

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