Research group joins the experts from different disciplines – biology, ecology and environmental science, hydrology and physical sciences, statistics – to develop, apply and integrate Remote Sensing for complex and operational environmental investigations.

Research areas:

Technological development and services

Remote sensing, airborne and unmanned aerial vehicles imagery validation and testing

Calibration/validation of Earth Observation data from NASA, European Commission and European Space Agency COPERNICUS, other commercial Space missions (i.e. Pleiades, WorldView etc.) and aero-photography with in situ measurements, calibration/validation field campaign organization in the coastal, transitional waters and lakes. Development and testing of the algorithms.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles flight performance

We organize and perform experimental UAVs and drone flights over the investigation area for data collection, which is important for research and monitoring.

Remote Sensing data processing

We perform the satellite and airborne-based data processing and mosaicking with Earth Observation data of different spatial (i.e. very high – few cm to 5 m, moderate – 10-300 m and reduced – up to 1 km), spectral (i.e. panchromatic, multispectral and hyperspectral) resolution and types (i.e. optical, thermal infrared, synthetic aperture radars, altimeters, scaterometers). Composition of orthophotos using digital photogrammetry methods and automatic classification. Analysis of remote data using multidimensional and spatial statistics methods.

Environmental parameters mapping

We retrieve and map physical (i.e. water level and floods, temperature, salinity, ice cover, waves, coastline changes) and biological (i.e. phytoplankton, macrophytes and their functional types, pigment (chlorophyll-a, phicobiliproteins) concentrations, photic zone, suspended and organic matter, algal blooms) environmental parameters for further use.

Autonomous water level fluctuation data loggers

In collaboration with UAB “Omega technology”, we are developing the portable, autonomous and sustainable data loggers for short-term water level fluctuation recording. Data are used for monitoring water level, wave height and other hydrological parameters.

Scientific and applied research

Bio-optical water properties and aquatic ecosystem functioning

We investigate bio-optical water properties (including light field, quality and distribution in the water column) optically active components (pigments, allochtonous and autochtonous inorganic and organic matter) using in situ, analytical and Remote Sensing methods, we analyze the changes under the natural and anthropogenic pressure and gradients, sources and vectors, effects for planktonic and benthic communities. Algal blooms (especially caused by cyanobacteria), short-term and retrospective excessive biomass formation and its distribution are of particular interest.

Mapping and functioning of coastal habitats

We perform the mapping and monitoring of aquatic vegetation and other coastal habitats. Development and testing of water quality indicators based on aquatic vegetation is of great concern. We have started the assessment of anthropogenic (i.e. agriculture) impact on aquatic vegetation and we are planning an experimental research with macrophytes.

Monitoring and modeling of physical water and coastal parameters

This includes further monitoring and modeling of physical parameters, such as water level, temperature, salinity, ice cover, waves, and environmental factors affecting them (air temperature, wind regime, solar radiation, etc.). The dynamics of the frontal zones (i.e. coastal upwelling) and their impact on estuarine environment, hydrological and biological processes in the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Complex and nonlinear wave dynamics processes and application of mathematical methods in assessment of wave climate. Monitoring the coastline and beach dynamics, evaluation of climate change impact on the coastal zone. Coastal dynamics research for integrated coastal zone management using geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis (geostatistics) methods.

Spatial multi-criteria assessment of environment

Environmental vulnerability, sensitivity and risk assessment in the context of climate change or human economic activities using GIS spatial analysis tools and multi-criteria decision-making methods. Spatial planning of marine and coastal areas by selecting suitable places for human activities.

Integrated water quality assessment

We contribute to the development of operational and integrated water quality assessment service (EOMORES under H2020 project) combining in situ, space-borne and air-borne imagery. The monitoring system is based on biological, chemical and physical parameters measured in situ and derived from satellite, UAV and drone data and designed for lakes, reservoirs, the Curonian Lagoon and coastal Baltic Sea waters. The development and testing of water quality indicators according to HLECOM, Marine Framework Strategy Directive, Water Framework Directive, Bathing Water Directive and other.

Team:

Dr. Diana Vaičiūtė
head, monitoring and assessment of water optical, biological parameters, ecological processes using Earth Observation (space-borne and air-borne) data, optical imagery calibration/validation, development and testing of algorithms and data processing

Dr. Martynas Bučas
mapping and monitoring of macrophytes using remote sensing methods, GIS and statistical modelling

Dr. Igor Kozlov
monitoring of physical water parameters, SAR imagery processing and application

Dr. Jolita Petkuvienė
integrated water quality and ecological status assessment

Dr. Loreta Kelpšaitė-Rimkienė
monitoring and modeling of hydrological parameters, developing and application of autonomous data loggers for short-term water level

Dr. Ingrida Bagdanavičiūtė
GIS, spatial environmental (vulnerability, sensitivity, suitability) multi-criteria assessment and spatial planning, integrated coastal zone management, environmental geology

Dr. Kęstutis Dučinskas
spatial statistics

dokt. Toma Dabulevičienė
monitoring and investigation of physical water parameters, thermal and infrared imagery processing and application

dokt. Vaiva Stragauskaitė
macrophyte monitoring and development of indicators

Ms.C. Edvinas Tiškus
application of UAVs and drone, aero-photography image processing and analysis

Bs.C. Jonas Gintauskas
GIS analysis of satellite images

Collaboration

Optical Remote Sensing group, CNR-IREA (Italy)
Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu (Estonia)

Membership

COPERNICUS Academy – http://copernicus.eu/main/copernicus-academy
COPERNICUS Relays – http://copernicus.eu/main/copernicus-relays