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Regional assessment of lake ecological states using Landsat: a classification scheme for alkaline-saline, flamingo lakes in the East African Rift Valley

Tebbs, E.J.; Remedios, J.J.; Avery, S.T.; Rowland, C.S.; Harper, D.M.. 2015 Regional assessment of lake ecological states using Landsat: a classification scheme for alkaline-saline, flamingo lakes in the East African Rift Valley. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 40. 100-108. 10.1016/j.jag.2015.03.010

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Abstract/Summary

In situ reflectance measurements and Landsat satellite imagery were combined to develop an optical classification scheme for alkaline-saline lakes in the Eastern Rift Valley. The classification allows the ecological state and consequent value, in this case to Lesser Flamingos, to be determined using Landsat satellite imagery. Lesser Flamingos depend on a network of 15 alkaline-saline lakes in East African Rift Valley, where they feed by filtering cyanobacteria and benthic diatoms from the lakes' waters. The classification developed here was based on a decision tree which used the reflectance in Landsat ETM+ bands 2-4 to assign one of six classes: low phytoplankton biomass; suspended sediment-dominated; microphytobenthos; high cyanobacterial biomass; cyanobacterial scum and bleached cyanobacterial scum. The classification accuracy was 77% when verified against in situ measurements. Classified imagery and timeseries were produced for selected lakes, which show the different ecological behaviours of these complex systems. The results have highlighted the importance to flamingos of the food resources offered by the extremely remote Lake Logipi. This study has demonstrated the potential of high spatial resolution, low spectral resolution sensors for providing ecologically valuable information at a regional scale, for alkaline-saline lakes and similar hypereutrophic inland waters.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.jag.2015.03.010
CEH Sections: Parr
ISSN: 0303-2434
Additional Keywords: Landsat, classification, alkaline-saline lakes, lesser flamingos, cyanobacteria, benthic diatoms
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 27 Apr 2015 15:32 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/510577

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