Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 18, Issue 3–5, pp 323–334 | Cite as

A remote sensing approach to estimating harvestable kelp biomass

  • M. S. Stekoll
  • L. E. Deysher
  • M. Hess


Regulations of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game require that all fisheries in the state have a harvest management plan. In southeast Alaska two species of floating kelps, Nereocystis luetkeana and Alaria fistulosa, have been commercially harvested since 1992 for use as agrochemicals by the Alaska Kelp Company. However, there is currently no harvest management plan for this fishery. The lack of a formalized management plan is one factor that has kept the kelp industry from expanding in the state. We have employed an aerial digital multispectral imaging system (DMSC) calibrated with ground truthing for performing such an assessment. The system can be flown at varying altitudes to achieve spatial resolutions ranging from 0.5 to 2 m. Rapid ground truthing techniques were developed using morphometric measurements to predict biomass. Analysis of the DMSC imagery showed that good correlations could be developed between the multispectral imagery and kelp biomass estimates collected at the ground-truth sites. Repeatable estimates of kelp bed area derived from the multispectral imagery could be made at varying tidal levels. However, broad scale maps of kelp biomass suitable for estimating harvest rates could not be made at different tide levels. Multispectral imagery suitable for this purpose must be collected at a standard tidal level.

Key words

kelp mapping remote sensing biomass kelp management kelp canopy Nereocystis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural SciencesUniversity of Alaska SEJuneauUSA
  2. 2.Ocean Imaging201 Lomas Santa Fe DriveSolana BeachUSA

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