Change Detection Analysis of Costal Habitat Using Remote Sensing Technologies in the Western Arabian Gulf (Saudi Arabian Coast) over a Thirty-Year Period.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Nehal Idris1, Sawyer H Johnson1, Hesham Mohamed El-Askary2 and Mohammed Ali B Qurban3, (1)Chapman University, Orange, CA, United States, (2)Chapman Univ, Orange, CA, United States, (3)King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Manager, Marine Studies Section Center for Environment and Water, Dhanran, Saudi Arabia
Many factors can severely affect the growth and abundance of the marine ecosystems. For example, due to anthropogenic and natural forces, benthic habitats including but not limited to mangroves, sea grass, salt marshes, macro algae, and coral reefs have been experiencing high levels of declination. Furthermore, aerosols and their propellants are suspected contributors to marine habitat degradation. Although several studies reveal that the Arabian Gulf habitats have suffered deleterious impacts after the Gulf War and the following six month off-shore oil spill, limited research exists to track the changes in benthic habitats over the past three decades using remote sensing. Document changes in costal habitats over the past thirty years were better observed with the use of multispectral remote sensors such as Landsat-5, Landsat-7, and Landsat8 (OLI). Change detection analysis was performed on the three Landsat images (Landsat-5 for the 1987 image, Landsat-7 for the 2000, and Landsat-8 for the 2013 image). The images were then modified, masked off from open water and land. An unsupervised classification was performed which cluster similar classes together. The supervised classification displayed the seven following classes: coral reefs, macro algae, sea grass, salt marshes, mangroves, water, and land. Compared to 1987 image to 2000 scene, there was a noticeable increase in the extensiveness of salt marsh and macro algae habitats. However, a significant decrease in salt marsh habitats were apparent in the 2013 scene.