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Monitoring the Spread of Water Hyacinth (Pontederia crassipes): Challenges and Future Developments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Deepayan BhowmikORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Copyright © 2021 Datta, Maharaj, Prabhu, Bhowmik, Marino, Akbari, Rupavatharam, Sujeetha, Anantrao, Poduvattil, Kumar and Kleczkowski. Water hyacinth (Pontederia crassipes, also referred to as Eichhornia crassipes) is one of the most invasive weed species in the world, causing significant adverse economic and ecological impacts, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Large scale real-time monitoring of areas of chronic infestation is critical to formulate effective control strategies for this fast spreading weed species. Assessment of revenue generation potential of the harvested water hyacinth biomass also requires enhanced understanding to estimate the biomass yield potential for a given water body. Modern remote sensing technologies can greatly enhance our capacity to understand, monitor, and estimate water hyacinth infestation within inland as well as coastal freshwater bodies. Readily available satellite imagery with high spectral, temporal, and spatial resolution, along with conventional and modern machine learning techniques for automated image analysis, can enable discrimination of water hyacinth infestation from other floating or submerged vegetation. Remote sensing can potentially be complemented with an array of other technology-based methods, including aerial surveys, ground-level sensors, and citizen science, to provide comprehensive, timely, and accurate monitoring. This review discusses the latest developments in the use of remote sensing and other technologies to monitor water hyacinth infestation, and proposes a novel, multi-modal approach that combines the strengths of the different methods.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Datta A, Maharaj S, Prabhu GN, Bhowmik D, Marino A, Akbari V, Rupavatharam S, Sujeetha JARP, Anantrao GG, Poduvattil VK, Kumar S, Kleczkowski A

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Year: 2021

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 28/01/2021

Acceptance date: 04/01/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2296-701X

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.


DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2021.631338