Mapping Cladophora extent in Lake Michigan using multi-scale satellite imagery

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



MTRI has developed a new remote sensing algorithm to map Cladophora extent and biomass in the near-shore waters (0-15 meters depth) in the Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan. The algorithm utilizes the blue, green and red visible bands of electro-optical satellites such as MODIS, MERIS, Landsat TM and higher spatial resolution (~2m) commercial multispectral data such as GeoEye and DigitalGlobe. The algorithm maps Cladophora using a depth invariant bottom reflectance index and has been successfully tested on satellite data sets of varying resolutions of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SBDNL) in Lake Michigan where there is extensive “lake” truth on Cladophora extent and biomass. A time series analysis, both annually and seasonally, of Cladophora extent at SBDNL was also done using historical Landsat data. After successful demonstration of the utility to map Cladophora in the Great Lakes, MTRI was awarded a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant to map Cladophora extent and biomass for the entire Great Lakes near shore, not including Lake Superior, as well as to conduct field sampling missions to further validate algorithm results. This presentation will focus on sharing the first basin-wide map of Cladophora extent in nearshore regions of Lake Michigan, and how the data results will be shared with Great Lakes stakeholders through MTRI and Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) web portals.

Publisher's Statement

© 2011 The authors.

Publication Title

State of Lake Michigan Conference 2011