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U.S. Department of the Interior
US Geological Survey

Remote-Sensing Applications to Hydrobiology in South Florida


Milton C. Kolipinski and Aaron L. Higer


Results are presented of a continuing effort in the application of remote-sensing data as a tool in hydrobiological investigations in the Everglades and coastal regions of south Florida. Panchromatic, color, color infrared, and multiband photographs used individually and in combination show gross, as well as detailed, features that permit evaluation of water resources. Hydrologic features such as depth and size of basins and drainage patterns are easily measured or observed from the photographs. The distribution of aquatic and semiaquatic plants serves as an indicator of hydrologic conditions. Examples are the occurrence of red and black mangrove trees along the tropical shorelines of Florida, which would indicate the mean high-water level; also, the particular reflections on photographs from algal mats and emergent aquatic plants allow for the delineation of the fresh-water/brackish-water interface. These observations have been made even from orbital photography at an altitude greater than 150 miles. Multiband imagery shows potential in extracting the spectral signatures of willow and fig trees and cattail marshes in the Everglades. The findings have transfer value to other marsh, swamp, and coastal regions of the United States.

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