Remote sensing tools are increasingly used for quantitative mapping of fluvial habitats, yet few techniques exist for continuous sampling of aquatic organisms, such as spawning salmonids. This study assessed the potential for spectrally based remote sensing of salmon spawning locations (i.e., redds) using data acquired from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) along a large, gravel‐bed river. We developed a novel, semi‐automated approach for detecting salmon redds by applying machine learning classification and object detection techniques to UAS‐based imagery. We found that both true colour (RGB) and hyperspectral imagery could be used to identify salmon redds, though with varying degrees of accuracy. Redds were mapped with accuracies of ~0.75 from RGB imagery using logistic regression and support vector machines (SVM) classification algorithms, but this type of data could not be used to identify redds using Object‐based Image Analysis (OBIA). The hyperspectral imagery was more useful for mapping salmon redds, with accuracies greater than 0.9 for both logistic regression and SVM classifiers; OBIA of the hyperspectral data resulted in redd detection accuracies up to 0.86. The hyperspectral imagery also yielded complementary physical habitat information including water depth and substrate composition, which we quantified on the basis of a spectrally based chlorophyll absorption ratio. Overall, the hyperspectral imagery more effectively identified salmon spawning locations than RGB images and was more conducive to the classification approaches we evaluated. Each type of remotely sensed data had advantages and limitations, which are important for potential users to understand when incorporating UAS‐based data collection into river ecosystem studies.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Assessing the potential for spectrally based remote sensing of salmon spawning locations|
|Series title||River Research and Applications|
|Contributing office(s)||WMA - Integrated Modeling and Prediction Division|
|Other Geospatial||American River|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|