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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 786896, 11 pages
Research Article

A Method for Calculating the Area of Zostera marina Leaves from Digital Images with Noise Induced by Humidity Content

Centro de Investigación Científica y Educación Superior de Ensenada, Carretera Ensenada-Tijuana No. 3918, Zona Playitas, 22860 Ensenada, BC, Mexico

Received 20 January 2014; Accepted 24 March 2014; Published 4 May 2014

Academic Editor: Jonne Kotta

Copyright © 2014 Cecilia Leal-Ramirez and Hector Echavarria-Heras. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Despite the ecological importance of eelgrass, nowadays anthropogenic influences have produced deleterious effects in many meadows worldwide. Transplantation plots are commonly used as a feasible remediation scheme. The characterization of eelgrass biomass and its dynamics is an important input for the assessment of the overall status of both natural and transplanted populations. Particularly, in restoration plots it is desirable to obtain nondestructive assessments of these variables. Allometric models allow the expression of above ground biomass and productivity of eelgrass in terms of leaf area, which provides cost effective and nondestructive assessments. Leaf area in eelgrass can be conveniently obtained by the product of associated length and width. Although these variables can be directly measured on most sampled leaves, digital image methods could be adapted in order to simplify measurements. Nonetheless, since width to length ratios in eelgrass leaves could be even negligible, noise induced by leaf humidity content could produce misidentification of pixels along the peripheral contour of leaves images. In this paper, we present a procedure aimed to produce consistent estimations of eelgrass leaf area in the presence of the aforementioned noise effects. Our results show that digital image procedures can provide reliable, nondestructive estimations of eelgrass leaf area.