NASA and DHI improve monitoring of phytoplankton

14 Sep 2006

Remote sensing opens a window to improve large scale monitoring of planktonic algae in the sea and in lakes. Amongst other, this supports due-time warnings of aquaculture farmers, users of recreational areas and others who might be negatively affected by a bloom of algae.

Proper remote sensing of phytoplankton does however prescribe high quality ground truth data. Therefore NASA and DHI Water & Environment are presently collecting phytoplankton samples from Danish marine areas to support the availability of such data.

As it is imperative that the ground truth data are comparable on a worldwide scale, the immediate objective of the exercise is to compare analyses made by several laboratories around the world. All laboratories receive identical sets of samples and analyze these with state-of-the-art technology using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), a method which is widely used by DHI to monitor the biomass and composition of the phytoplankton populations.

The long term objective is to optimize the algorithms used to translate satellite signals into quantitative estimates of phytoplankton biomasses.

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