Monitoring Algal Blooms in Small Lakes Using Drones: A Case Study in Southern Illinois
Author: Di Wu, Ruopu Li, Jia Liu, Nafeesa Khan,
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) persist in many water bodies around the world and pose adverse health and economic impacts to the affected communities. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have recently been applied as a cost-effective tool for HABs monitoring. In this study, HABs in two small lakes in Southern Illinois (Carbondale Reservoir and the Campus Lake of Southern Illinois University) were monitored using UAVs and biomass concentrations in lake waters. By analyzing vegetation indices derived from multispectral UAV images and chlorophyll-a concentrations in the two lakes, statistical regression models were established for each waterbody. The model relates spectral characteristics of the lake water to its algae biomass. It was found that normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and blue-to-green band ratio are the best-fit indices to the variation in chlorophyll-a in Carbondale Reservoir and the Campus Lake, respectively. The findings in this study can be used for monitoring HABs using UAVs in these lakes in the future.
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