Satellite and Airborne Remote Sensing Applications for Freshwater Fisheries

Sentinel 2 satellite true color images (10-m resolution) of the Detroit River delta at the confluence with Lake Erie on June 29, 2016 (top panel), and the confluence of the Tennessee River (south) with the Ohio River (north) on February 6, 2016 (bottom panel). Both images were downloaded using Copernicus Open Access Hub.

By Daniel C. Dauwalter, Kurt A. Fesenmyer, Robin Bjork, Douglas R. Leasure &
Seth J. Wenger

Remote sensing has been pivotal to our understanding of freshwater fisheries, and we review this rapidly changing field with a focus on satellite and airborne applications. Historical applications emphasized spatial variation in the environment (e.g., watershed land use and in situ primary productivity), but improved access to imagery archives facilitates better change detection over time. New sensor platforms and technology now yield imagery with higher spatial, temporal, and spectral resolutions than ever before, which has accelerated development of remote sensing products that more accurately characterize aquatic environments. Free access to imagery archives, cloud computing, and availability of derived products linked to national hydrography databases are all removing historical barriers to its use by fisheries professionals. These advances in remote sensing have allowed new questions to be answered at finer spatial resolutions across broader landscapes and longer time frames, providing a new big-picture perspective to freshwater fisheries conservation and management.

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