Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Kelp Coverage

Aerial Photography

Aerial photography has been an important means of mapping out kelp forest canopy cover for many years.  Black and white photographs remain utilized due to the contrast between kelp and adjacent water.  The above picture was taken in August of 2000 in the Hopkins Marine Life Refuge, CA.

The above photograph was taken of Hopkins Marine Life Refuge, CA in 1969.  With color photographs, the contrast between kelp and adjacent waters is no more useful than the black and white aerial photographs.  However, infrared photographs are the most functional to study canopy cover.  This is due to the canopy glowing a yellow/orange color when imaged using infrared photography.

For the following data collected by Graham et al. published in 1997, infrared photography was employed.  The photographs were taken monthly at 2500m altitude during similar tidal, weather, and sea conditions.  The canopy cover was predominantly Macrocystis pyrifera, except for summer months were Cystoseira osmundacea fronds were also observed.

The data collected in this study will be analyzed for an area in the Hopkins Marine Life Refuge, CA from November 1985 thru January 1989.

Copyright 2001:  James Lopez

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