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Investigating Coral Reef Ecosystems in Support of NASA’s Earth Science Program
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AirBorne Missions

Airborne Missions Using AVRIS to Study Coral Reefs

Using AVIRIS to Study Coral Reefs

Coral reef and coastal zone scientists and managers have requested higher resolution remote sensing data in order to study and monitor inter- and intra-habitat variability of coral reefs as well as water quality parameters in the coastal zone.  To accomplish this there is a need to better understand the optical properties of coral reefs, seagrass, other benthic types, and water column constituents so that current and future remote sensing can be optimized for coastal zone ecosystem research and management. 

AVIRIS To address the needs of the scientific community, we are using the NASA JPL Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) to remotely sense coral reefs. 

Critical to assessing the condition of coral reefs and associated mangrove and seagrass ecosystems is fine scale (<10 m spatial resolution) hyperspectral remote sensing data study sites that provides within-habitat biological and physical information.  The high spatial and spectral resolution requirement will allow mapping of benthic types and discrimination of variation within benthic types that can help reveal condition and biological and physical degradation status.  Further, the requirement for a hyperspectral sensor in marine environments is to provide sufficient spectral data since only light in the visible range can penetrate the water column.

More information on AVIRIS can be found on the AVIRIS Web site




AVIRIS: Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer

  • NASA ER-2 or Twin Otter Platform

  • 224 contiguous spectral channels (370-2500 nm)

  • 10 nm nominal channel bandwidth

  • High signal to noise ratio

  • Go to the AVIRIS Web site for more information.
Research funded by NASA’s Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program
and NASA’s Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science Program