Machine Learning for Detection of Macroalgal Blooms in the Mar Menor Coastal Lagoon Using Sentinel-2

Encarni Medina-López, Gabriel Navarro, Juan Santos-Echeandía, Patricia Bernárdez, Isabel Caballero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The Mar Menor coastal lagoon in southeastern Spain has experienced a decline in water quality due to increased nutrient input, leading to the eutrophication of the lagoon and the occurrence of microalgal and macroalgal blooms. This study analyzes the macroalgal bloom that occurred in the lagoon during the spring-summer of 2022. A set of machine learning techniques are applied to Sentinel-2 satellite imagery in order to obtain indicators of the presence of macroalgae in specific locations within the lagoon. This is supported by in situ observations of the blooming process in different areas of the Mar Menor. Our methodology successfully identifies the macroalgal bloom locations (accuracies above 98%, and Matthew’s Correlation Coefficients above 78% in all cases), and provides a probabilistic approach to understand the likelihood of occurrence of this event in given pixels. The analysis also identifies the key parameters contributing to the classification of pixels as algae, which could be used to develop future algorithms for detecting macroalgal blooms. This information can be used by environmental managers to implement early warning and mitigation strategies to prevent water quality deterioration in the lagoon. The usefulness of satellite observations for ecological and crisis management at local and regional scales is also highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1208
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number5
Early online date22 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • CART
  • Copernicus program
  • K-Means
  • machine learning
  • macroalgal bloom
  • Mar Menor coastal lagoon


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