Using Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) to study marsh migration at Poplar Island, Maryland (2019)
Poplar Island, located off Talbot County in Chesapeake Bay, is an environmental success story. Read more about the history and restoration project in my blog post about Poplar Island. We are using Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) to study marsh migration of Spartina alterniflora. By using a multispectral sensor (MicaSense RedEdge), we are attempting to differentiate marsh vegetation species to study upland migration over time.
Evaluating satellite atmospheric correction algorithms for Sentinel 3 OLCI in Chesapeake Bay (2019)
Chesapeake Bay is a large and optically complex estuary as suspended sediment, phytoplankton biomass, and dissolved organic matter are highly variable through space and time. The optical complexity can confound the accuracy of satellite remote sensing atmospheric correction (AC) algorithms, leading to erroneous water quality assessments. I am currently evaluating AC algorithms using data from the Ocean and Land Color Instrument (OLCI) onboard Sentinel 3 satellite. By comparing corrected remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) to in situ hyperspectral Rrs measurements, we can identify the best performing AC algorithm for the Bay. This research will aim to improve operational satellite application and advance water quality monitoring and management in coastal environments.
Using Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) remote sensing to monitor intertidal oyster reef habitat (2017-2019)
Funded through North Carolina Sea Grant/Space Grant, we researched how to effectively monitor intertidal oyster reef habitat using unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS, or drones). We used a variety of different UAS aircraft and sensors to assess oyster reef condition. By analyzing UAS imagery, we were able to nondestructively estimate critical oyster reef metrics such as area, height, and density. More information can be found on this interactive ESRI story map.
Windle, A.E.; Poulin, S.K.; Johnston, D.W.; Ridge, J.T. Rapid and Accurate Monitoring of Intertidal Oyster Reef Habitat Using Unoccupied Aircraft Systems and Structure from Motion. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2394.
Autonomous terrestrial rovers enable high resolution light pollution sampling at sea turtle nesting beaches (2017-2018)
For my Master’s Project at the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke University, I used a terrestrial rover to quantify artificial nighttime light, or light pollution, on beaches in central North Carolina. I compared light pollution measurements to sea turtle nesting trends to study the effect on female nest site selection and hatchling orientation. I concluded that there were fewer nests occurring in areas of high light pollution. I presented this research at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Windle, A. E., Hooley, D. S., & Johnston, D. W. (2018). Robotic vehicles enable high-resolution light pollution sampling of sea turtle nesting beaches. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, 493.
The effects of sand characteristics on the hatching success and clutch survival of Loggerhead sea turtles (2015-2016)
I completed my undergraduate thesis at Washington College on the data collected during a NOAA internship at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Naples, Florida. After collecting sand samples taken from sea turtle nests, I analyzed sand grain size, porosity, and total water holding capacity to determine if different sand characteristics affected the hatching success of sea turtle nests located in Southwest Florida.