Imaging Benthic Biofilms in the Meadowlands

Benthic biofilms are matrixes of microbial cells and their secretions and have been shown to stabilize sediment in coastal environments. In the Meadowlands, biofilms may play an important role in limiting the mobility of contaminants associated with creek beds and mudflats.Only a few studies have investigated biofilm growth and how durable and effective their ability to stabilize sediment. Now, new Drone technology with high spatial resolution and multispectral cameras is allowing us, for the first time to image diatom-dominated biofilms around rivulets and the micro-topography of creek beds and mudflats in the Meadowlands of New Jersey.
Red and near-infra-red bands from a multispectral camera mounted on a DJI Mavic3 drone were used to calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
Colors from yellow (NDVI = 0) to light Green (NDVI =0.45) show increasing levels of chlorophyll pigments due to diatom-dominated biofilms over exposed mudflats. NDVI values above 0.45 indicate vascular vegetation. Values less than Zero indicate gradually diminishing pigment content.
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