Coastal and freshwater ecosystems including inland, estuarine, deltaic and near coastal waters as well as wetlands, macrophytes, macro-algae, seagrasses and coral reefs, are among the most sensitive indicators of environmental impacts related to human activities. Monitoring and managing the water quality of coastal and inland waters is necessary as they are vital to many kinds of utilization, including urbanisation, tourism, transportation, industry, fish farming and drinking water supply, and they also support habitats for a large floral and faunal diversity. Since decades, these ecosystems experience high pressure from increasing social and economic human activities as well as climate change. These marginal regions between land and sea support valuable ecotones that are highly vulnerable to shifts in the environment, whether from climate change and its consequences (e.g., sea level rise), human activities (e.g., eutrophication or changes to existing watershed hydrology), or natural disturbances (e.g., storms or tsunamis). Studies of coastal and inland aquatic ecosystems are thus critical to understanding and protecting these valuable resources.
Coastal and freshwater ecosystem management requires a reliable information base and robust analytical techniques. The EnMAP satellite will enable a repeatable quantitative monitoring of the waterrelated environmental parameters. The combination of hyperspectral data with ecological or hydrological models, geographic information systems and in-situ measurements allows the development of advanced integrated management plans for coastal zones and catchments characterized by inland water bodies, wetlands or reservoirs.
Accordingly, the following main scientific tasks are related to coastal and inland water body applications:
- Improvement of the identification of different substances by their spectral characteristics, such as improved chlorophyll quantification,
- the differentiation between ecological important phytoplankton groups, and dissolved organic compounds;
- Monitoring and taxonomic identification of (potentially toxic) algal and phytoplankton blooms in eutrophicated coastal and inland waters;
- Enhancement of the identification of different fractions of suspended mineral and organic particles
- Monitoring of the spatio-temporal dynamics and structure of optical shallow sea/lake bottom substrate (vegetation and sediment, e.g macropyhtes, seagrasses)
- Monitoring of the distribution patterns of invasive submersed and emergent algae;
- Monitoring of the variety of algal species/genera in space and time as a bio-indicator of coastal and freshwater ecology;
- Estimation of processes, such as primary production in inland and coastal waters and suspended matter transport and its impact on coastal ecosystems;
- Monitoring of the distribution of sediments in tidal flats, wetlands, coral reefs and mangrove forests; an
- Monitoring of coastal erosion and changes in coastal morphology