The use of remote sensing for monitoring Posidonia oceanica and Marine Protected Areas: A systemic review

Luca Appolloni, Elvira Buonocore, Giovanni Fulvio Russo, Pier Paolo Franzese



Posidonia oceanica is a priority habitat (Habitat Directive 92/43/CEE) that needs to be protected by conservation tools such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Remote Sensing (RS) is a useful tool allowing for mapping seagrass meadows and other important marine habitats. In this study, we explore the global scientific literature on RS applied to both P. oceanica and MPAs tracking its evolution and trends by applying network analysis to bibliometric science. The software VOSviewer was used to create maps based on network data of scientific publications displaying relationships among authors and countries. In addition, specific keywords were used to explore the co-occurrence of different terms characterizing the application of RS in marine science. Results showed that France is the main country publishing on RS applied to Posidonia oceanica while Pergent Gérard and Pergent-Martini Cristine resulted the top authors. The co-occurrences analysis highlighted that RS is primarily used for seagrasses mapping, while few studies are focused on their monitoring. Furthermore, investigating RS in connection with MPAs the main country resulted Australia while the top author was Andréfouet. The network map of keywords showed that RS is widely applied to MPAs to study coral reefs and their biodiversity and for mapping marine ecosystems. The use of RS for monitoring Posidonia oceanica beds and MPAs resulted a poorly explored research area, probably due to the low resolution of available data determining large scale habitat mapping. In conclusion, we maintain that RS applications can provide useful information about the effects of local human activities and global climate change on marine ecosystems


Remote Sensing; Posidonia oceanica; Marine Protected Area; Bibliometric network analysis; VOSviewer

Full Text:



Agati G., Bazzani M., Cecchi G., Mazzinghi P., Pantani L., Raimondi V. & Settesoldi L., 1995, Remote sensing of Posidonia oceanica by laser induced fluorescence. Int. Geosci. Remote Sens. Symp. 3: 1732–1734.

Andréfouët S. & Hamel M.A., 2014, Tropical islands quick data gap analysis guided by coral reef geomorphological maps. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 81: 191–199.

Appolloni L., Bevilacqua S., Sbrescia L., Sandulli R., Terlizzi A. & Russo G.F., 2017, Does full protection count for the maintenance of β-diversity patterns in marine communities? Evidence from Mediterranean fish assemblages. Aquat. Conserv. Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 27: 828–838.

Appolloni L., Ferrigno F., Russo G.F. & Sandulli R., 2020, β-Diversity of morphological groups as indicator of coralligenous community quality status. Ecol. Indic. 109: 105840.

Appolloni L., Sandulli R., Vetrano G. & Russo G.F., 2018a, Assessing the effects of habitat patches ensuring propagule supply and different costs inclusion in marine spatial planning through multivariate analyses. J. Environ. Manage. 214: 45–55.

Appolloni L., Sandulli R., Vetrano G. & Russo G.F., 2018b, A new approach to assess marine opportunity costs and monetary values-in- use for spatial planning and conservation; the case study of Gulf of Naples, Mediterranean Sea, Italy. Ocean Coast. Manag. 152: 135–144.

Appolloni L., Sandulli R., Bianchi C.N. & Russo G.F., 2018c, Spatial Analyses of An Integrated Landscape-seascape Territorial System: The Case of The Overcrowded Gulf of Naples, Southern Italy. J. Environ. Account. Manag. 6: 365–380.

Aulicino G., Cotroneo Y., Lacava T., Sileo G., Fusco G., Carlon R., Satriano V., Pergola N., Tramutoli V. & Budillon G., 2016, Results of the first Wave Glider experiment in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea. Adv. Oceanogr. Limnol. 7: 16–35.

Beech T., Dowd M., Field C., Hatcher B. & Andréfouët S., 2008, A stochastic approach to marine reserve design: Incorporating data uncertainty. Ecol. Inform. 3: 321–333.

Blondeau-Patissier D., Gower J.F.R., Dekker A.G., Phinn S.R. & Brando V.E., 2014, A review of ocean color remote sensing methods and statistical techniques for the detection, mapping and analysis of phytoplankton blooms in coastal and open oceans. Prog. Oceanogr. 123: 123–144.

Borfecchia F., Consalvi N., Micheli C., Carli F.M., Cognetti De Martiis S., Gnisci V., Piermattei V., Belmonte A., De Cecco L., Bonamano S. & Marcelli M., 2019, Landsat 8 OLI satellite data for mapping of the Posidonia oceanica and benthic habitats of coastal ecosystems. Int. J. Remote Sens. 40: 1548–1575.

Borfecchia F., Micheli C., Carli F., De Martis S.C., Gnisci V., Piermattei V., Belmonte A., De Cecco L., Martini S. & Marcelli M., 2013, Mapping Spatial Patterns of Posidonia oceanica Meadows by Means of Daedalus ATM Airborne Sensor in the Coastal Area of Civitavecchia (Central Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy). Remote Sens. 5: 4877–4899.

Boudouresque C.F., Pergent G., Pergent-Martini C., Ruitton S., Thibaut T. & Verlaque M., 2016, The necromass of the Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow: fate, role, ecosystem services and vulnerability. Hydrobiologia 781: 25–42.

Brezonik P., Menken K.D. & Bauer M., 2005, Landsat-based remote sensing of lake water quality characteristics, including chlorophyll and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM). Lake Reserv. Manag. 21: 373–382.

Browman H.I. & Stergiou K.I., 2004, Marine Protected Areas as a central element of ecosystem-based management: Defining their location, size and number. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 274: 271–272.

Buonocore E., Picone F., Russo G.F. & Franzese P.P., 2018, The Scientific Research On Natural Capital: A Bibliometric Network Analysis. Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management 6(4): 374-384.

Buonocore E., Picone F., Donnarumma L., Russo G.F. & Franzese P.P., 2019, Modeling matter and energy flows in marine ecosystems using emergy and eco-exergy methods to account for natural capital value. Ecol. Modell. 392: 137–146.

Buonocore E., Appolloni L., Russo G.F. & Franzese, P.P., 2020, Assessing natural capital value in marine ecosystems through an environmental accounting model: A case study in Southern Italy. Ecol. Modell. 419: 108958.

Cotroneo Y., Aulicino G., Ruiz S., Pascual A., Budillon G., Fusco G. & Tintoré J., 2016, Glider and satellite high resolution monitoring of a mesoscale eddy in the algerian basin: Effects on the mixed layer depth and biochemistry. J. Mar. Syst. 162: 73–88.

Cozza R., Rende F., Ferrari M., Bruno L., Pacenza M., Dattola L. & Bitonti M.B., 2019, Biomonitoring of Posidonia oceanica beds by a multiscale approach. Aquat. Bot. 156: 14–24.

Dalleau M., Andréfouët S., Wabnitz C.C.C., Payri C., Wantiez L., Pichon M., Friedman K., Vigliola L. & Benzoni F., 2010, Uso de Hábitats como Sustitutos de la Biodiversidad para la Conservación Eficiente de Arrecifes de Coral. Conserv. Biol. 24: 541–552.

Donnarumma L., Lombardi C., Cocito S. & Gambi M.C., 2014, Settlement pattern of Posidonia oceanica epibionts along a gradient of ocean acidification: An approach with mimics. Mediterr. Mar. Sci. 15: 498–509.

Donnarumma L., Sandulli R., Appolloni L., Sánchez-Lizaso J.L. & Russo G.F., 2018, Assessment of Structural and Functional Diversity of Mollusc Assemblages within Vermetid Bioconstructions. Diversity 10: 96–110.

European Commision, 2010, Commision decision 2010/477/EU of 1 September 2010 on criteria and methodological standards on good environmental status of marin waters. OJ L232/14.

European Commission, 2003. Council Recommendation 2002/413/EC of 30 May 2002 concerning the implementation of integrated coastal zone management in Europe. OJ L148/24.

Ferrigno F., Appolloni L., Russo G.F. & Sandulli R., 2017, Impact of fishing activities on different coralligenous assemblages of Gulf of Naples (Italy). J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. United Kingdom 98: 1–10.

Ferrigno F., Bianchi C.N., Lasagna R., Morri C., Russo G.F. & Sandulli R., 2016, Corals in high diversity reefs resist human impact. Ecol. Indic. 70: 106–113.

Fiuza A.F.G., 1990, Applications of satellite remote sensing to fisheries, in: Operations Research and Management in Fishing, Springer: 257–279.

Fornes A., Basterretxea G., Orfila A., Jordi A., Alvarez A. & Tintore J., 2006, Mapping Posidonia oceanica from IKONOS. ISPRS J. Photogramm. Remote Sens. 60: 315–322.

Franzese P.P., Buonocore E., Donnarumma L. & Russo G.F., 2017, Natural capital accounting in marine protected areas: The case of the Islands of Ventotene and S. Stefano (Central Italy), Ecological Modelling 360: 290-299.

Franzese P.P., Buonocore E., Paoli C., Massa F., Stefano D., Fanciulli G., Miccio A., Mollica E., Navone A., Russo G.F., Povero P. & Vasallo P., 2015, Environmental Accounting in Marine Protected Areas: the EAMPA Project. Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management 3(4): 324–332.

Friedlander A.M., Brown E.K. & Monaco M.E., 2007, Coupling ecology and GIS to evaluate efficacy of marine protected areas in Hawaii. Ecol. Appl. 17: 715–730.

Gitelson A.A., Yacobi Y.Z., Rundquist D.C., Stark R., Han L. & Etzion D., 2000, Remote estimation of chlorophyll concentration in productive waters: Principals, algorithm development and validation. Proceedings of NWQMC, National Monitoring Conference: 149–160.

Gohin F., Saulquin B., Oger-Jeanneret H., Lozac’h L., Lampert L., Lefebvre A., Riou P. & Bruchon F., 2008, Towards a better assessment of the ecological status of coastal waters using satellite-derived chlorophyll-a concentrations. Remote Sens. Environ. 112: 3329–3340.

Goodell W., Stamoulis K.A. & Friedlander A.M., 2018, Coupling remote sensing with in situ surveys to determine reef fish habitat associations for the design of marine protected areas. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 588: 121–134.

Green J.T., 1995, An assessment of pans as landscape features in the north west province using remote sensing techniques. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 106 p.

Halpern B.S., Lester S.E. & McLeod K.L., 2010, Placing marine protected areas onto the ecosystem-based management seascape. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 107: 18312–18317.

Han L. & Rundquist D.C., 1997, Comparison of NIR/RED ratio and first derivative of reflectance in estimating algal-chlorophyll concentration: A case study in a turbid reservoir. Remote Sens. Environ. 62: 253–261.

Hedley J.D., Roelfsema C.M., Chollett I., Harborne A.R., Heron S.F., Weeks S.J., Skirving W.J., Strong A.E., Mark Eakin C., Christensen T.R.L., Ticzon V., Bejarano S. & Mumby P.J., 2016, Remote sensing of coral reefs for monitoring and management: A review. Remote Sens. 8: 1-40.

Jones K.R., Klein C.J., Halpern B.S., Venter O., Grantham H., Kuempel C.D., Shumway N., Friedlander A.M., Possingham H.P. & Watson J.E.M., 2018, The Location and Protection Status of Earth’s Diminishing Marine Wilderness. Curr. Biol. 28: 2506-2512.e3.

Klemas V., 2010, Remote Sensing Techniques for Studying Coastal Ecosystems: An Overview. J. Coast. Res. 27: 2-17.

Maina J., Jones K., Hicks C., McClanahan T., Watson J., Tuda A. & Andréfouët S., 2015, Designing Climate-Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks by Combining Remotely Sensed Coral Reef Habitat with Coastal Multi-Use Maps. Remote Sens. 7: 16571–16587.

Mateo M.A., Romeo J., Pérez M., Littler M.M. & Littler D.S., 1997, Dynamics of millenary organic deposits resulting from the growth of the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 44: 103–110.

Merkohasanaj M., Rodríguez-Rodríguez D., García-Martínez M.C., Vargas-Yáñez M., Guillén J. & Abdul Malak D., 2019, Assessing the environmental effectiveness of the Spanish Marine Reserve Network using remote sensing. Ecol. Indic. 107: 105583.

Mumby P.J., Skirving W., Strong A.E., Hardy J.T., LeDrew E.F., Hochberg E.J., Stumpf R.P. & David L.T., 2004, Remote sensing of coral reefs and their physical environment. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 48: 219–228.

Otte E. & Rousseau R., 2002, Social network analysis: A powerful strategy, also for the information sciences. J. Inf. Sci. 28: 441–453.

Pasqualini V., Pergent-Martini C., Pergent G., Agreil M., Skoufas G., Sourbes L. & Tsirika A., 2005, Use of SPOT 5 for mapping seagrasses: An application to Posidonia oceanica. Remote Sens. Environ. 94: 39–45.

Pauna V.H., Picone F., Le Guyader G., Buonocore E. & Franzese P.P., 2018, The scientific research on ecosystem services: A bibliometric analysis. Ecological Questions 29(3): 53-62.

Pauna V.H., Buonocore E., Renzi M., Russo G.F. & Franzese P.P., 2019, The issue of microplastics in marine ecosystems: A bibliometric network analysis. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 149: 110612.

Pergent G., Aktan Y., Belbacha S., Djellouli A., De La Grandrive R.D., Elagil E.M.A., El Asmi S., Gucu A.C., Langar H., Laouar S., Pergent-Martini C., Rais C., Semroud R. & Sherif M., 2011, Setting up the Medposidonia programme in the mediterranean region, [in:] Proc. 10th Int. Conf. Mediterr. Coast. Environ. MEDCOAST 2011, 1: 241–252.

Pergent G., Bazairi H., Bianchi C.N., Boudouresque C.F., Buia M.C., Clabaut P., Harmelin-Vivien M., Mateo M.A., Montefalcone M., Morri C., Orfanidis S., Pergent-Martini C., Semroud R., Serrano O. & Verlaque M., 2012, Mediterranean seagrass meadows: resilience and contribution to climate change mitigation. A short summary. Gland, Switzerland and Málaga, Spain: IUCN, 40 p.

Personnic S., Boudouresque C.F., Astruch P., Ballesteros E., Blouet S., Bellan-Santini D., Bonhomme P., Thibault-Botha D., Feunteun E., Harmelin-Vivien M., Pergent G., Pergent-Martini C., Pastor J., Poggiale J.-C., Renaud F., Thibaut T. & Ruitton S., 2014, An Ecosystem-Based Approach to Assess the Status of a Mediterranean Ecosystem, the Posidonia oceanica Seagrass Meadow. PLoS ONE 9(6): e98994.

Picone F., Buonocore E., D’Agostaro R., Donati S., Chemello R. & Franzese P.P., 2017, Integrating natural capital assessment and marine spatial planning: A case study in the Mediterranean sea. Ecol. Modell. 361: 1-13.

Poursanidis D., Topouzelis K. & Chrysoulakis N., 2018, Mapping coastal marine habitats and delineating the deep limits of the Neptune’s seagrass meadows using very high resolution Earth observation data. Int. J. Remote Sens. 39: 8670–8687.

Rassweiler A., Costello C. & Siegel D.A., 2012, Marine protected areas and the value of spatially optimized fishery management. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 109: 11884–11889.

Santos A.M.P., 2000, Fisheries oceanography using satellite and airborne remote sensing methods: A review. Fish. Res. 49: 1–20.

Schalles J.F., Gitelson A.A, Yacobi Y.Z. & Kroenke A.E., 1998, Estimation of chlorophyll a from time series mesurements of high spectral resolution reflectance in an eutrophic lake. Journal of Phycology 34(2): 390: 383–390.

Schulte to Bühne H. & Pettorelli N., 2018, Better together: Integrating and fusing multispectral and radar satellite imagery to inform biodiversity monitoring, ecological research and conservation science. Methods Ecol. Evol. 9: 849–865.

Skaf L., Buonocore E., Dumontet S., Capone R. & Franzese P.P., 2020, Applying network analysis to explore the global scientific literature on food security. Ecological Informatics 56: 101062.

Torres-Pulliza D., Wilson J.R., Darmawan A., Campbell S.J. & Andréfouët S., 2013, Ecoregional scale seagrass mapping: A tool to support resilient MPA network design in the Coral Triangle. Ocean Coast. Manag. 80: 55–64.

Tulloch V.J., Klein C.J., Jupiter S.D., Tulloch A.I.T., Roelfsema C. & Possingham H.P., 2017, Trade-offs between data resolution, accuracy, and cost when choosing information to plan reserves for coral reef ecosystems. J. Environ. Manage. 188: 108–119.

Vacchi M., De Falco G., Simeone S., Montefalcone M., Morri C., Ferrari M. & Bianchi C.N., 2017, Biogeomorphology of the Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows. Earth Surf. Process. Landforms 42: 42–54.

Van Eck N. J. & Waltman L., 2018, VOSviewer Manual 1.6.11. Manual, (version 1.6.9).

Vasilijevic A., Miskovic N., Vukic Z. & Mandic F., 2014, Monitoring of seagrass by lightweight AUV: A Posidonia oceanica case study surrounding Murter island of Croatia, [in:] 22nd Mediterr. Conf. Control Autom. MED 2014: 758–763.

Wedding L.M. & Friedlander A., 2008, Determining the influence of seascape structure on coral reef fishes in Hawaii using a geospatial approach. Mar. Geod. 31: 246–266.

Zou X., Yue W.L., Vu H.L., 2018, Visualization and analysis of mapping knowledge domain of road safety studies. Accid. Anal. Prev. 118: 131–145.

Partnerzy platformy czasopism