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Title: The development and use of a quadcopter-mounted hyperspectral spectrometer for examining remote-sensing reflectance in Scottish coastal waters
Author: Weeks, Rebecca J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 2615
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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Remote-sensing of the marine coastal environment is useful for obtaining information about processes occurring within it. Monitoring has traditionally been carried out in situ, before investment increased in remote techniques such as manned planes and satellites. Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) are gaining momentum as an alternative platform. A novel 'spectro-copter', comprising of a dual field-of-view, miniaturised, hyperspectral spectrometer aboard a purpose-built quadcopter is presented. This has been produced in order to investigate remote-sensing reflectance (Rrs) from Scottish coastal waters at increased spectral, spatial and temporal resolution, with a view to deriving the concentrations of various in-water constituents. In conjunction, work has been undertaken to examine the inherent optical properties (IOPs) of a selection of European genera and species of phytoplankton and, more broadly groups, associated with either high biomass or toxic blooms: namely the diatoms, dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria. These results have been utilised alongside the radiative transfer model Hydrolight to generate expected Rrs. Results indicate that within the diatom and dinoflagellate groups, individual species or genera cannot be distinguished. However, each group can be separated from the other using both chlorophyll-specific absorption and Rrs, and the two cyanobacteria examined are distinguishable to genera level. Information regarding phytoplankton size classes is also discernible from IOPs. Differences are subtle, and emphasise the importance of developing a hyperspectral system to maximise future opportunities for discrimination. Fieldwork using the developed spectro-copter system was completed over terrestrial targets initially to minimise risk, before undertaking a field campaign in Ardmucknish Bay, and Loch Etive, Argyll. This examined the potential for differentiating between water bodies, and detecting the moving boundary between the two. Surface reflectance is a significant issue for above-water measurements, and removal of this requires careful consideration. Nevertheless, the presented system was capable of consistently distinguishing between the two locations, with additional evidence for small scale differentiation.
Supervisor: Anderson, Philip ; Davidson, Keith ; McKee, David Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Phytoplankton ; Algal blooms ; Marine ecology ; Remote sensing ; Drone aircraft ; Reflectance