Featured News Items:
2022-2023 - OCEAN IMAGING Works With Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to Map Coastal Kelp Beds
As has been emphasized in previous OI News stories, Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) and Bull Kelp (Nereocystis) forests along the west coast of North America and around the world are a valuable resource and provide a critical habitat and nursery grounds to hundreds of marine species such as seals, sea urchins, abalone, sea otters, octopuses, numerous fish species and even whales. These underwater ecosystems are well known for their rich biodiversity and carbon storing capacity. These large brown algae can grow up to a foot a day but can also be nearly wiped out by a single storm. Over the past several years the health of kelp beds along the Oregon Coast has been highly variable with beds in some areas showing extreme decline. In areas such as the waters off Port Orford and Cape Blanco that were once robust, thriving kelp forests are now virtually barren due to exploding populations of purple sea urchins which will graze the kelp beds down to almost nothing. Ocean Imaging (OI) has been mapping kelp around the world since the late 1990s.
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NOVEMBER 2021 - OCEAN IMAGING COMPLETES STUDY TO IMPROVE OIL DETECTION CAPABILITY USING A PROTABLE, UAS-BASED SCAT RECONNAISSANCE SYSTEM
In 2019 Ocean Imaging was awarded funding for a two-year project to develop Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) designed to help detect and map oil in coastal and inland zones. Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) operations are a fundamental part of oil spill response for both marine and inland spills. The project funded by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) division aimed to incorporate more sophisticated sensors into a portable sUAS to assess the efficacy of the enhanced equipment and novel oil detection algorithms designed to help responders and SCAT teams more quickly and accurately identify and assess oiled areas in shoreline and inland waterway habitats.
The system was built using CDFW’s exiting sUAS platform and multispectral camera adding two additional cameras imaging in the ultraviolet and thermal infrared wavelengths. Custom software was written to facilitate the incorporation of these sensors and processing of the resulting data. Ultimately two study locations in California (the McKittrick natural oil seeps and a natural seep oiled beach below Carpinteria Bluffs in California) were chosen that offered fresh and weathered oil targets needed for the creation of an oil detection and classification algorithm. A multistep image processing algorithm was developed using the new sensor bands that effectively classified high probability oil targets with minimal false positive identifications. The results of the study showed that a sUAS equipped with a state of the art, 5-channel multispectral and thermal infrared imaging system could provide accurate and easy to interpret oil identification information to SCAT and other response workers at a reasonable cost.
June 2020 - OCEAN IMAGING CONDUCTS GIS STUDY OF VEHICLE-CAUSED KEY DEER DEATHS IN THE FLORIDA KEYS
The Lower Florida Keys are the unique home to the Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium), a subspecies of the whitetail deer and federally listed as an endangered species. Saved from extinction in the 1950s, the deer have rebounded from a mere 25-50 individuals in 1950, to 700-800 today. Affected by major habitat losses in the past decades, as well as recent mass casualties during a screwworm epidemic in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017, their most persistent cause of death is a collision with a motor vehicle. Each year 100+ Key deer (i.e. 9-15% of the entire world population) die that way.
There are plentiful road signs alerting motorists to the presence of deer on Big Pine and No Name Keys – the two islands holding the majority of the Key deer population. Smaller sub-herds also live on neighboring islands to the west, however, where no signage has historically existed, and most tourists and even many residents are unaware of the possibility of a collision with a deer. Ocean Imaging’s President, Dr. Jan Svejkovsky, lives in the Keys and with his wife runs the non-profit organization “Save Our Key Deer” (SOKD). For the past 2 years SOKD has been lobbying the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) to install deer-warning signs on all islands with Key deer herds, in hopes that the raised awareness may reduce the number of collisions and deer deaths. In late 2019 FDOT agreed to the signage additions. The question then was where to locate the signs for best effect?
SOKD obtained detailed vehicle-caused deer death location records from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Monroe County Sherriff’s Office for the past 8 years,
and Ocean Imaging technicians used GIS analysis software to create maps of collision “hot spots”. The hot spots indicate where the deer cross the road most frequently which, in turn, tends to correlate with natural resources (e.g. a drinking water source) or human-related ones (e.g dumpsters behind a restaurant where deer tend to look for food scraps). The hot spot results were forwarded to FDOT by SOKD and are being used to plan out the new sign locations to be installed later this year or in early 2021.
27 November 2018 - Ocean Imaging Completes Study of Vegetation Response to Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys
Ocean Imaging utilized a series of 10m resolution Sentinel-satellite multispectral imagery to document the response of different vegetation types in the lower Florida Keys after the passage of hurricane Irma on 9/10/2017. The study, done in collaboration with researchers from Florida International University, revealed that almost immediately after the storm, the green buttonwood – Conocarpus erectus began vigorous regrowth in all areas, quickly followed by multiple species in the "hardwood hammock" uplands of the most affected Keys. This massive regrowth occurred within the first 2.5 months after the storm, causing a seasonally anomalous large positive Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) change. This was followed by a steady state or slight NDVI decrease as the region entered its dry season, similar to what was observed in years prior to the hurricane. The study found that the hardest-hit species were mangroves, particularly on the islands facing the main storm surge from the southeast. The storm caused numerous areas of black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and red mangrove (Rizophora mangle) to completely die, not necessarily due to the immediate storm forces but progressively through the several ensuing months. On some of the islands studied, areas of complete or near-complete mangrove die-off represent as much as 35% of the total pre-storm mangrove coverage. On the other hand, the study found dwarf mangrove areas that finally began to revive from near-complete leaf loss 4-5 months after the cataclysmic storm. The results of this project thus provide a spatially detailed map of the post-hurricane vegetation response, which can be used to plan and guide ongoing and long-term future monitoring studies and possible reseeding efforts. The Florida Keys study area showing mangrove areas with <90% mortality (black) and areas with >90% hurricane Irma-related mangrove die-off (red).
The Florida Keys study area showing mangrove areas with <90% mortality (black) and areas with >90% hurricane Irma-related mangrove die-off (red).
Black mangrove forest with total die-off post-Irma
"Satellite Image-Based Time Series Observations of Vegetation Response to Hurricane Irma in the Lower Florida Keys"
"Characterization of surface oil thickness distribution patterns observed during the Deepwater Horizon (MC-252) oil spill with aerial and satellite remote sensing."
“Operational Utilization of Aerial Multispectral Remote Sensing during Oil Spill Response: Lessons Learned During the Deepwater Horizon (MC-252) Spill,” PE&RS, 78(10): 1089-1102
Subsea Oil and Gas, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2011: "Aerial mapping of oil spill distributions, thickness patterns and weathering state."
SeaTechnology: "Adding a Multispectral Aerial System to the Oil Spill Response Arsenal"
OI News Items
SeaView Fishing Mobile app now available for Apple Mobile Devices.
Ocean Imaging rolls out SeaView Mobile app
Ocean Imaging Completes Latest Round of Projects to Map Kelp Off the Coast of California
Ocean Imaging publishes peer-reviewed results of post-hurricane Irma study in the Florida Keys
Ocean Imaging receives funding to improve oil detection capability using a portable UAS-based SCAT reconnaissance system
Ocean Imaging Celebrates 35 Years of "Finding Fish from Space"
Ocean Imaging Marks 15 Years of an Environmental Monitoring Project to Help Restore California's Wetlands
Ocean Imaging Continues 15 Years of Work to Map Eel Grass in Morro Bay, California
25 April 2017:
OI and MSRC Partner to Equip All TRACS Aircraft with State-of-the-Art Air-to-Ground Data Transfer Systems
OI and MSRC Adapt OI's TRACS for Deployment on Helicopters
4 November 2016:
Ocean Imaging's lastest peer-reviewed scientific paper on the characterization of oil spills during the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill
22 JUly 2016:
NOAA Partners with OI to Advance Oil Spill Remote Sensing