NASA’s Blue Carbon Mapping Initiative

CGR faculty Deepak Mishra received funding from NASA to map and quantify carbon dynamics in tidal influenced vegetation found on both the Gulf Coast of the United States and the Coastal areas of Georgia, USA. David L. Cotten, Assistant Research Scientist in CGR, and Jessica O’Connell, Post Doctoral Associate in Marine Science at UGA, along with other members of CGR have been working on this project since 2014.

The project combines remotely sensed data with landscape and plot level measurements to determine regional carbon sequestration are critical wetland habitats. Remotely sensed data was gathered from 2000 to 2016 to create historical data sets of the study sites. MODIS derived Gross Primary Production (GPP) was matched with eddy covariance data of H2O and CO2 measured by flux towers located in three different locations, covering three different dominate marsh grasses: Spartina Alternafloria (Sapelo Island, GA), Spartina Patens (Bayou Sauvage, LA), and Juncus (Grand Bay National Ecological Research Reserve, MS). At each site biometric data was collected throughout the 2015 season thus building a data set of vegetation height, above ground biomass, below ground biomass, LAI, and hyperspectral measurements of the canopy. All the sites also have the ability to determine Gross Primary Production (GPP) through the use of eddy covarience flux towers.  The towers in Grand Bay and Bayou Sauvage are maintained by CGR, the Sapelo Island tower is maintained by the Leclerc lab at UGA’s Griffin Campus.

The in situ collected data sets are being combined with MODIS data sets to correlate GPP between the two systems. Since this is a tidally influenced system, removal of water influences is paramount for accurate ecosystem production calculations, a fact that has been mostly ignored in previous studies.

Grand Bay, Mississippi flux tower site.


Bayou Sauvage, Louisiana flux tower site.