Msc thesis subject: Mapping Sargassum on coast and in coastal waters of Bonaire with Sentinel-2

Bonaire’s coastline and beaches are threatened by increasing large amounts of Sargassum seaweed. Local experts have already noticed that the amount of Sargassum has a negative impact on the fringes of the mangrove forest on Bonaire. Open source satellite Sentinel-2 provides now new opportunities for bathymetric and benthic mapping, see also Hedley et al. (2018).

In recent years, large amounts of Sargassum have been washing up on many beaches of islands in the Caribbean. This floating seaweed drifts on ocean currents while growing. How well can patches of Sargassum be viewed by satellites? With Sentinel-2 passing on average once every week it may be possible to predict its arrival and impact on beaches. Can smaller patches of Sargussum also be detected on the coast with Senstinel-2, and can it be distinguished from the mangrove forest or do we only see the impact on the mangrove forest?


  • Can Sargassum be detected on the coast with Sentinel-2?
  • Can Sargassum be detected further from the coast on open sea with Sentinel-2?
  • How well can smaller patches of Sargassum (~100 m2) be detected with Sentinel-2?
  • (Can we see impact of Sargassum on fringes of mangrove forest?)


  • Brooks MT, Coles VJ, Hood RR, Gower JFR (2018). Factors controlling the seasonal distribution of pelagic Sargassum. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 599:1-18
  • Hedley et al. (2018). Coral reef applications of Sentinel-2: Coverage, characteristics, bathymetry and benthic mapping with comparison to Landsat 8. Remote Sensing of Environment 216: 598–614


  • Remote sensing (GRS-20306)

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring