Detecting Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans) Infestation Using a Target Recognition Algorithm


The outbreaks of invasive plant species can cause great ecological and agronomic problems through aggressively competing for environmental resources that could be otherwise utilized by other desirable species. Thus, it is crucial for detecting small infestations before they reach a significant extent that can cause ecological and economic damages over a large geological area. Remote sensing is a proven method for mapping invasion extent and pattern based on geospatial imagery and indicated great repeatability, large coverage area, and lower cost compared with traditional ground-based methods before. We investigated the feasibility and performances of adopting multispectral satellite imagery analyses for mapping infestation of musk thistle (Carduus nutans) on native grassland, crop field, and residential areas in early June using spectral angle mapper classifier. Our results showed an overall classification accuracy of 94.5%, indicating great potential of using moderate resolution multispectral satellite-based remote sensing techniques for musk thistle detection over a large spatial scale.

Share and Cite:

Mirik, M. , Emendack, Y. , Attia, A. , Chaudhuri, S. , Roy, M. , Backoulou, G. and Cui, S. (2014) Detecting Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans) Infestation Using a Target Recognition Algorithm. Advances in Remote Sensing, 3, 95-105. doi: 10.4236/ars.2014.33008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Mirik, M., Steddom, K. and Michels Jr., G.J. (2006) Estimating Biophysical Characteristics of Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans) with Three Remote Sensing Instruments. Rangeland Ecology and Management, 59, 44-54.
[2] Zhang, R., Heberling, J.M., Haner, E. and Shea, K. (2011) Tolerance of Two Invasive Thistles to Repeated Disturbance. Ecological Research, 26, 575-581.
[3] Mirik, M., Ansley, R.J., Steddom, K., Jones, D.C., Rush, C.M., Michels Jr., G.J. and Elliott, N.C. (2013) Remote Detection of a Noxious Weed (Musk Thistle: Carduus nutans) Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery and the Support Vector Machine Classifier. Remote Sensing, 5, 612-630.
[4] He, K.S., Rocchini, D., Neteler, M. and Nagendra, H. (2011) Benefits of Hyperspectral Remote Sensing for Tracking Plant Invasions. Diversity and Distributions, 17, 381-392.
[5] Mooney, H.A. and Hobbs, R.J. (2000) Invasive Species in a Changing World. Island Press, Washington DC.
[6] Rauschert, E.S.J., Shea, K. and Bjornstad, O.N. (2012) Coexistence Patterns of Two Invasive Thistle Species, Carduus nutans and C. acanthoides, at Three Spatial Scales. Biological Invasions, 14, 151-164.
[7] Somers, B. and Asner, G.P. (2012) Hyperspectral Time Series Analysis of Native and Invasive Species in Hawaiian Rainforests. Remote Sensing, 4, 2510-2529.
[8] Frazier, A.E. and Wang, L. (2011) Characterizing Spatial Patterns of Invasive Species Using Sub-Pixel Classifications. Remote Sensing of Environment, 115, 1997-2007.
[9] Milbrath, L.R. and Nechols, J.R. (2004) Individual and Combined Effects of Trichosirocalus horridus and Rhinocyllus conicus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) on Musk Thistle. Biological Control, 30, 418-429.
[10] Milbrath, L.R. and Nechols, J.R. (2004) Indirect Effect of Early-Season Infestations of Trichosirocalus horridus on Rhinocyllus conicus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Biological Control, 30, 95-109.
[11] Skarpaas, O., Silverman, E.J., Jongejans, E. and Shea, K. (2011) Are the Best Dispersers the Best Colonizers? Seed Mass, Dispersal and Establishment in Carduus Thistles. Evolutionary Ecology, 25, 155-169.
[12] Wiggins, G.J., Grant, J.F., Lambdin, P.L., Ranney, J.W., Wilkerson, J.B., Reed, A. and Follum, R.A. (2010) Host Utilization of Field-Caged Native and Introduced Thistle Species by Rhinocyllus conicus. Environmental Entomology, 39, 1858-1865.
[13] Wiggins, G.J., Grant, J.F., Lambdin, P.L., Ranney, J.W., Wilkerson, J.B and Van Manen, F.T. (2010) Spatial Prediction of Habitat Overlap of Introduced and Native Thistles to Identify Potential Areas of Nontarget Activity of Biological Control Agents. Environmental Entomology, 39, 1866-1877.
[14] Zhang, R., Leshak, A. and Shea, K. (2012) Decreased Structural Defence of an Invasive Thistle under Warming. Plant Biology, 14, 249-252.
[15] Kok, L.T. (2001) Classical Biological Control of Nodding and Plumeless Thistles. Biological Control, 21, 206-213.
[16] Roduner, M., Cuperus, G., Mulder, P., Stritzke, J. and Payton, M. (2003) Successful Biological Control of the Musk Thistle in Oklahoma Using the Musk Thistle Head Weevil and the Rosette Weevil. American Entomologist, 49, 112-120.
[17] Seefeldt, S.S., Stephens, J.M.C., Verkaaik, M.L. and Rahman, A. (2005) Quantifying the Impact of a Weed in a Perennial Ryegrass-White Clover Pasture. Weed Science, 53, 113-120.
[18] Mirik, M. and Ansley, R.J. (2012) Comparison of Ground-Measured and Image-Classified Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) Canopy Cover in Texas. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 65, 85-95.
[19] Asner, G.P., Jones, M.O., Martin, R.E., Knapp, D.E. and Hughes, R.F. (2008) Remote Sensing of Native and Invasive Species in Hawaiian Forests. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112, 1912-1926.
[20] Huang, C. and Asner, G.P. (2009) Applications of Remote Sensing to Alien Invasive Plant Studies. Sensors, 9, 4869-4889.
[21] Lass, L.W., Prather, T.S., Glenn, N.F., Weber, K.T., Mundt, J.T. and Pettingill, J. (2005) A Review of Remote Sensing of Invasive Weeds and Example of the Early Detection of Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) and Babysbreath (Gypsophila paniculata) with a Hyperspectral Sensor. Weed Science, 53, 242-251.
[22] Narumalani, S., Mishra, D.R., Wilson, R., Reece, P. and Kohler, A. (2009) Detecting and Mapping Four Invasive Species along the Floodplain of North Platte River, Nebraska. Weed Technology, 23, 99-107.
[23] Ge, S., Xu, M., Anderson, G.L. and Carruthers, R.I. (2007) Estimating Yellow Starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) Leaf Area Index and Aboveground Biomass with the Use of Hyperspectral Data. Weed Science, 55, 671-678.
[24] Mirik, M. and Ansley, R.J. (2012) Utility of Satellite and Aerial Images for Quantification of Canopy Cover and Infilling Rates of the Invasive Woody Species Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) on Rangeland. Remote Sensing, 4, 1947-1962.
[25] Ustin, S.L., Gitelson, A.A., Jacquemoud, S., Schaepman, M., Asner, G.P., Gamon, J.A. and Zarco-Tejada, P. (2009) Retrieval of Foliar Information about Plant Pigment Systems from High Resolution Spectroscopy. Remote Sensing of Environment, 113, S67-S77.
[26] Gibbes, C., Adhikari, S., Rostant, L., Southworth, J. and Qiu, Y. (2010) Application of Object Based Classification and High Resolution Satellite Imagery for Savanna Ecosystem Analysis. Remote Sensing, 2, 2748-2772.
[27] Jones, D., Pike, S., Thomas, M. and Murphy, D. (2011) Object-Based Image Analysis for Detection of Japanese Knotweed s.l. Taxa (Polygonaceae) in Wales (UK). Remote Sensing, 3, 319-342.
[28] Melendez-Pastor, I., Navarro-Pedreno, J., Koch, M., Gómez, I. and Hernández, E.I. (2010) Land-Cover Phenologies and Their Relation to Climatic Variables in an Anthropogenically Impacted Mediterranean Coastal Area. Remote Sensing, 2, 697-716.
[29] Lu, D. and Weng, Q. (2007) A Survey of Image Classification Methods and Techniques for Improving Classification Performance. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 28, 823-870.
[30] Somers, B., Asner, G.P., Tits, L. and Coppin, P. (2011) Endmember Variability in Spectral Mixture Analysis: A Review. Remote Sensing of Environment, 115, 1603-1616.
[31] Kruse, F.A., Lefkoff, A.B., Boardman, J.W., Heidebrecht, K.B., Shapiro, A.T., Barloon, J. and Goetz, A.F.H. (1993) The Spectral Image Processing System (SIPS)—Interactive Visualization and Analysis of Imaging Spectrometer Data. Remote Sensing of Environment, 44, 145-163.
[32] Kumar, U. and Ramachandra, V. (2008) Endmembers Discrimination in MODIS Using Spectral Angle Mapper and Maximum Likelihood Algorithms. Internatioanl Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 2, 1-14.
[33] Petropoulos, G.P., Vadrevu, K.P., Xanthopoulos, G., Karantounias, G. and Scholze, M. (2010) A Comparison of Spectral Angle Mapper and Artificial Neural Network Classifiers Combined with Landsat TM Imagery Analysis for Obtaining Burnt Area Mapping. Sensors, 10, 1967-1985.
[34] Lass, L.W., Thill, D.C., Shafii, B. and Prather, T.S. (2002) Detecting Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) with Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Technology. Weed Technology, 16, 426-432.[0426:DSKCMW]2.0.CO;2
[35] Mundt, J.T., Glenn, N.F., Weber, K.T., Prather, T.S., Lass, L.W. and Pettingill, J. (2005) Discrimination of Hoary Cress and Determination of Its Detection Limits via Hyperspectral Image Processing and Accuracy Assessment Techniques. Remote Sensing of Environment, 96, 509-517.
[36] Parker Williams, A.E. and Hunt Jr., E.R. (2004) Accuracy Assessment for Detection of Leafy Spurge with Hyperspectral Imagery. Journal of Range Management, 57, 106-112.[0106:AAFDOL]2.0.CO;2
[37] Congalton, R.G. and Green, K. (2009) Assessing the Accuracy of Remotely Sensed Data: Principles and Practices. 2nd Edition, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton.
[38] Ke, Y. and Quackenbush, L.J. (2011) A Review of Methods for Automatic Individual Tree-Crown Detection and Delineation from Passive Remote Sensing. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 32, 4725-4747.
[39] Jensen, J.R. (1996) Introductory Digital Image Processing: A Remote Sensing Perspective. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River.
[40] Verbyla, D.L. and Hammond, T.O. (1995) Conservative Bias in Classification Accuracy Assessment Due to Pixelby-Pixel Comparison of Classified Images with Reference Grids. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 16, 581-587.
[41] Foody, G.M. (2002) Status of Land Cover Classification Accuracy Assessment. Remote Sensing of Environment, 80, 185-201.
[42] Thomlinson, J.R., Bolstad, P.V. and Cohen, W.B. (1999) Coordinating Methodologies for Scaling Landcover Classifications from Site-Specific to Global: Steps toward Validating Global Map Products. Remote Sensing of Environment, 70, 16-28.
[43] Glenn, N.F., Mundt, J.T., Weber, K.T., Prather, T.S., Lass, L.W. and Pettingill, J. (2005) Hyperspectral Data Processing for Repeat Detection of Small Infestations of Leafy Spurge. Remote Sensing of Environment, 95, 399-412.
[44] Lawrence, R.L., Wood, S.D. and Sheley, R.L. (2006) Mapping Invasive Plants Using Hyperspectral Imagery and Breiman Cutler Classifications (Random Forest). Remote Sensing of Environment, 100, 356-362.
[45] Andrew, M.E. and Ustin, S.L. (2008) The Role of Environmental Context in Mapping Invasive Plants with Hyperspectral Image Data. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112, 4301-4317.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.