Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Crystal B. Schaaf

Second Advisor

Robert F. Chen

Third Advisor

Jarrett Byrnes


Satellite remote sensing is used broadly in various environmental studies over both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Remote sensing allows a better understanding of these ecosystems on a larger scale, over longer periods, and at a very low cost. However, data and biophysical products from multiple satellite missions need to be carefully calibrated and evaluated to ensure continuity and stability across time and space. Furthermore, the NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellites provide near-daily global imagery, these data are acquired at a lower spatial resolution (500m – 1km), complicating the investigation of any finer details in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Thus, finer resolution (albeit less frequently acquired) imagery from the Landsat (30m) and Sentinel-2 satellites (10/20/60m) are often also utilized. This research incorporates satellite remote sensing from all these various sensors to monitor three distinct but adjoining ecosystems in the New England area: mixed forests (Harvard Forest), submerged vegetation forests (Salem Sound), and the open ocean (Boston Harbor). Comparisons with field data allow for a characterization of the strengths and weaknesses of using these imaging datasets for monitoring each ecosystem under changing climate conditions.


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