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The goal of this research was to investigate the extent to which remotely sensed data could be used to retrieve fine particles, chlorophyll, and CDOM concentrations from the water column in the near shore, and to map the distribution of periphyton (attached algae), aquatic macrophytes (submerged plants), and clam beds in the near shore of Lake Tahoe. If fully feasible, this would provide a powerful and cost-effective methodology for longterm monitoring of the nearshore.
The results of in situ spectroscopy and radiative transfer modeling altogether indicated that detection of bottom substrate type from remotely sensed imagery would be feasible at shallower sites in Lake Tahoe's near-shore area. Even though there was variation in reflectance spectra within each substrate types, each substrate types exhibited somewhat distinct shapes, and distinction was conserved until depth reaches ca.10 m.
Future application of data from a hyperspectral imager with a highly sensitive sensor specifically developed for aquatic environment measurements (e.g., PRISM, NASA-JPL) would be far better suited for future observations aiming at accurate mapping in the near-shore area. In addition to such instruments, development of a new advanced technique such as an autonomous submersible imager, which can run over the substrate with consistent distance from the surface (e.g., 1 m), would be useful for substrate mapping by minimizing influence of water on reflectance spectra.