Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean, Coastal, and Earth Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher A. Gabler

Second Advisor

Dr. Abdullah F. Rahman

Third Advisor

Dr. Hudson R. DeYoe


Although seagrass beds provide global ecosystem services, coverage is in rapid decline, with the capacity of seagrasses to sequester carbon of special concern. Current seagrass monitoring methods are labor intensive and may not offer a complete picture of coverage. Remote sensing offers the ability to oversee landscapes but water in coastal environments presents challenges, as the commonly used near-infrared wavelength dissipates in water.

This project aimed to provide reliable methodology to assess seagrass coverage using multispectral imagery taken from an unmanned aerial vehicle and to provide evidence for the link between seagrass coverage and stored belowground carbon for common seagrasses in the Gulf of Mexico. Reflectance values from multispectral imagery produced coverage estimates that were compatible with in-water surveys and canopy coverage proved to be a reliable predictor of below-ground carbon storage, in the first 10 cm. Further research of carbon storage in gaps in seagrass cover is needed.


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