Exploring LiDAR data for mapping the micro-topography and tidal hydro-dynamics of mangrove systems: An example from southeast Queensland, Australia
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The aim was to explore the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to map the micro-topography of an intertidal wetland in southeast Queensland Australia. The driver for this was the need to identify and map the habitats of the immature stages of an aedine disease vector mosquito (Aedes vigilax (Skuse)). We derived a high resolution digital elevation model (DEM) data set at a vertical resolution of 0.05 m from LiDAR data. The relative accuracy of the DEM across the site was tested by comparing water depth predictions derived from the DEM against in-situ water depth readings from pressure sensors over a 10-day tidal cycle, which included high spring tides. We found that the field observations of micro-topographic units important for mosquito management matched those delineated from the DEM. The micro-topography included a low berm or central ridge that was more or less continuous across the site, a shallow back basin and fringing mangroves. The fringing mangroves had unimpeded connection to the tidal source, however the central ridge blocked tidal water from the back basin for all but the highest tides. Eggshell survey indicated that the back basin was the area suitable for immature mosquitoes. We conclude that LiDAR data has application for understanding and mapping the structure of mangrove wetlands. We have also demonstrated (in a small area) that LiDAR is useful for modelling the effect of sea level changes on the coastal fringe. LiDAR may be the only method to inform research on changes to land use and ecosystems caused by sea level change.
Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science
Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified