25 Aug 2020 00:00
08 Aug 2020 00:00

Date Range: 

August 25, 2020. September 8, 2020.


11:00-12:00 EDT (English) or 14:00-15:00 EDT (Spanish)

Remote sensing of coastal and marine ecosystems is particularly challenging. Up to 90% of the signal received by the sensors in orbit comes from the atmosphere. Additionally, dissolved and suspended constituents in the water column attenuate most of the light received through absorption or scattering. When it comes to retrieving information about shallow water ecosystems, even in the clearest waters under the clearest skies, less than 10% of the signal originates from the water and its bottom surface. Users, particularly those with little remote sensing experience, stand to benefit from this training covering some of the difficulties associated with remote sensing of coastal ecosystems, particularly beaches and benthic communities such as coral reefs and seagrass.

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of this training, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify the different water column components and how they affect the remote sensing signal of shallow-water ecosystems
  • Outline existing satellite sensors used for ocean color and shallow-water ecosystem characterization
  • Understand the interaction between water constituents, the electromagnetic spectrum, and the remote sensing signal
  • Recognize the different processes used to remove the water column attenuation from the remotely-sensed signal to characterize benthic components
  • Summarize techniques for characterizing shoreline beach environments with remotely-sensed data and field methods for beach profiling

Course Format: 

  • Three one-hour sessions with presentations in English and Spanish
  • One Google Form homework



  • Local, regional, state, federal, and non-governmental environmental managers, researchers, and students.

Registration Information: 

REGISTER (11:00–12:00 EDT (UTC-4)

Course Agenda: 


Part One: Overview of Coastal Ecosystems and Remote Sensing

  • Introduction to coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Overview of sensors for remote sensing of coastal areas
  • Q&A 

Part Two: Penetration of Light in the Water Column

  • Apparent and inherent optical properties 
  • Field bio-optical measurements 
  • Water column corrections 
  • Deriving bathymetry and benthic characterization from multispectral data 
  • Validation and calibration of ocean color data 
  • Q&A 

Part Three: Remote Sensing of Shorelines

  • Geophysical components of shorelines 
  • The parts of a beach 
  • Field-based measurements in shorelines for image validation 
  • Image processing and analysis for shoreline characterization 
  • Q&A