Marine Science Faculty Publications

Change Detection in Coral Reef Communities Using Ikonos Satellite Sensor Imagery and Historic Aerial Photographs

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


For decades, aerial photographs have been the only source of very high spatial resolution data for coral reef researchers. With the launch of the Ikonos satellite in 1999, imagery with a 4 m spatial resolution in multispectral mode can now be combined with historical aerial photographs for change detection. We demonstrate this potential by combining two aerial photographs (1981 and 1992) and an Ikonos image (2000) to detect change in the coral reef communities for Carysfort Reef, Florida, USA. The results show a loss of 'coral-dominated' bottom from 52% (1981) to 16% (1992) to finally 6% (2000), a trend similar to in situ observations.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

International Journal of Remote Sensing, v. 24, issue 4, p. 873-878