Reef Fishes of Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles: Assemblage Structure across a Gradient of Habitat Types

PLoS ONE 5(5): May 21, 2010

Wes Toller, Adolphe O. Debrot, Mark J. A. Vermeij, and Paul C. Hoetjes

“Saba Bank is a 2,200 km2 submerged carbonate platform in the northeastern Caribbean Sea off Saba Island, Netherlands Antilles. The presence of reef-like geomorphic features and significant shelf edge coral development on Saba Bank have led to the conclusion that it is an actively growing, though wholly submerged, coral reef atoll. However, little information exists on the composition of benthic communities or associated reef fish assemblages of Saba Bank. We selected a 40 km2 area of the bank for an exploratory study. Habitat and reef fish assemblages were investigated in five shallow-water benthic habitat types that form a gradient from Saba Bank shelf edge to lagoon. Significant coral cover was restricted to fore reef habitat (average cover 11.5%) and outer reef flat habitat (2.4%) and declined to near zero in habitats of the central lagoon zone. Macroalgae dominated benthic cover in all habitats (average cover: 32.5 – 48.1%) but dominant algal genera differed among habitats. A total of 97 fish species were recorded. The composition of Saba Bank fish assemblages differed among habitat types. Highest fish density and diversity occurred in the outer reef flat, fore reef and inner reef flat habitats. Biomass estimates for commercially valued species in the reef zone (fore reef and reef flat habitats) ranged between 52 and 83 g/m2. The composition of Saba Bank fish assemblages reflects the absence of important nursery habitats, as well as the effects of past fishing. The relatively high abundance of large predatory fish (i.e. groupers and sharks), which is generally considered an indicator of good ecosystem health for tropical reef systems, shows that an intact trophic network is still present on Saba Bank.”

Residential Location Choice: Models and Applications

…new book coming, edited by Francesca Pagliara, John Preston, and David Simmonds…

“The effective planning of residential location choices is one of the great challenges of contemporary societies and requires forecasting capabilities and the consideration of complex interdependencies which can only be handled by complex computer models. This book presents a range of approaches used to model residential locations within the context of developing land-use and transport models. These approaches illustrate the range of choices that modellers have to make in order to represent residential choice behaviour. The models presented in this book represent the state-of-the-art and are valuable both as key building blocks for general urban models, and as representative examples of complexity science.”

Soil Erosion Assessment using Geomorphological Remote Sensing Techniques: An Example from Southern Italy

Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Volume 35, Issue 3, Date: 15 March 2010, Pages: 262-271

Sergio Lo Curzio and Paolo Magliulo

“The aim of this study is to assess of the distribution and map the geomorphological effects of soil erosion at the basin scale identifying newly-formed erosional landsurfaces (NeFELs), by means of an integration of Landsat ETM 7+ remotely sensed data and field-surveyed geomorphological data. The study was performed on a 228·6 km2-wide area, located in southern Italy. The study area was first characterized from a lithological, pedological, land-use and morpho-topographic point of view and thematic maps were created. Then, the georeferenced Landsat ETM 7+ satellite imagery was processed using the RSI ENVI 4.0 software. The processing consisted of contrast stretching, principal component analysis (PCA), decorrelation stretching and RGB false colour compositing. A field survey was conducted to characterize the features detected on the imagery. Particular attention was given to the NeFELs, which were located using a global positioning system (GPS). We then delimited the Regions of Interest (ROI) on the Landsat ETM 7+ imagery, i.e. polygons representing the ground-truth, discriminating the NeFELs from the other features occurring in the imagery. A simple statistical analysis was conducted on the digital number (DN) values of the pixels enclosed in the ROI of the NeFELs, with the aim to determine the spectral response pattern of such landsurfaces. The NeFELs were then classified in the entire image using a maximum likelihood classification algorithm. The results of the classification process were checked in the field. Finally, a spatial analysis was performed by converting the detected landsurfaces into vectorial format and importing them into the ESRI ArcViewGIS 9.0 software. Application of these procedures, together with the results of the field survey, highlighted that some objects in the classified imagery, even if displaying the same spectral response of NeFELs, were not landsurfaces subject to intense soil erosion, thus confirming the strategic importance of the field-checking for the automatically produced data. During the production of the map of the NeFELs, which is the final result of the study, these objects were eliminated by means of simple, geomorphologically-coherent intersection procedures in a geographic information system (GIS) environment. The overall surface of the NeFELs had an area of 22·9 km2, which was 10% of the total. The spatial analysis showed that the highest frequency of the NeFELs occurred on both south-facing and southwest-facing slopes, cut on clayey-marly deposits, on which fine-textured and carbonate-rich Inceptisols were present and displaying slope angle values ranging from 12° to 20°. The comparison of two satellite imageries of different periods highlighted that the NeFELs were most clearly evident immediately after summer tillage operations and not so evident before them, suggesting that these practices could have played an important role in inducing the erosional processes.”

An Integrated Approach for Prioritization of Reservoir Catchment using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System Techniques

Geocarto International, Volume 25, Issue 2 April 2010 , pages 149 – 168

Sreenivasulu Vemu and P. Udayabhaskar

“This study is aimed at evolving a watershed prioritization of reservoir catchment based on vegetation, morphological and topographical parameters, and average annual soil loss using geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing techniques. A large multipurpose river valley project, Upper Indravati reservoir, situated in the state of Orissa, India, has been chosen for the present work. Watershed prioritization is useful to soil conservationist and decision makers. This study integrates the watershed erosion response model (WERM) and universal soil loss equation (USLE) with a geographic information system (GIS) to estimate the erosion risk assessment parameters of the catchment. The total catchment is divided into 15 sub-watersheds. Various erosion risk parameters are determined for all the sub-watersheds separately. Average annual soil loss is also estimated for the sub-watersheds using USLE. The integrated effect of all these parameters is evaluated to recommend the priority rating of the watersheds for soil conservation planning.”