Mapping lichen distribution on the Antarctic Peninsula using remote sensing, lichen spectra and photographic documentation by citizen scientists
On the Antarctic Peninsula, lichens are the most diverse botanical component of the terrestrial ecosystem. However, detailed information on the distribution of lichens on the Antarctic Peninsula region is scarce, and the data available exhibit significant heterogeneity in sampling frequency and effort. Satellite remote sensing, in particular the use of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), has facilitated determination of vegetation richness and cover distribution in some remote and otherwise inaccessible environments. However, it is known that using NDVI for the detection of vegetation can overlook the presence of lichens even if their land cover is extensive. We tested the use of known spectra of lichens in a matched filtering technique for the detection and mapping of lichen-covered land from remote sensing imagery on the Antarctic Peninsula, using data on lichen presence collected by citizen scientists and other non-specialists as ground truthing. Our results confirm that the use of this approach allows for the detection of lichen flora on the Antarctic Peninsula, showing an improvement over the use of NDVI alone for the mapping of flora in this area.
Keywords: Antarctica; NDVI; matched filtering; Landsat; remote sensing.
(Published: 26 October 2015)
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Citation: Polar Research 2015, 34, 25633, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v34.25633
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.