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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(12), 1309; doi:10.3390/rs9121309

Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing of Phytoplankton Pigment Absorption Properties in Cyanobacteria Bloom Waters: A Regional Example in the Western Basin of Lake Erie

1
School for the Environment, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125, USA
2
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI 02882, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Phytoplankton pigments absorb sunlight for photosynthesis, protect the chloroplast from damage caused by excess light energy, and influence the color of the water. Some pigments act as bio-markers and are important for separation of phytoplankton functional types. Among many efforts that have been made to obtain information on phytoplankton pigments from bio-optical properties, Gaussian curves decomposed from phytoplankton absorption spectrum have been used to represent the light absorption of different pigments. We incorporated the Gaussian scheme into a semi-analytical model and obtained the Gaussian curves from remote sensing reflectance. In this study, a series of sensitivity tests were conducted to explore the potential of obtaining the Gaussian curves from multi-spectral satellite remote sensing. Results showed that the Gaussian curves can be retrieved with 35% or less mean unbiased absolute percentage differences from MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-like sensors. Further, using Lake Erie as an example, the spatial distribution of chlorophyll a and phycocyanin concentrations were obtained from the Gaussian curves and used as metrics for the spatial extent of an intense cyanobacterial bloom occurred in Lake Erie in 2014. The seasonal variations of Gaussian absorption properties in 2011 were further obtained from MERIS imagery. This study shows that it is feasible to obtain Gaussian curves from multi-spectral satellite remote sensing data, and the obtained chlorophyll a and phycocyanin concentrations from these Gaussian peak heights demonstrated potential application to monitor harmful algal blooms (HABs) and identification of phytoplankton groups from satellite ocean color remote sensing semi-analytically. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; phytoplankton pigments; cyanobacteria; MODIS; MERIS remote sensing; phytoplankton pigments; cyanobacteria; MODIS; MERIS
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, G.; Lee, Z.; Mouw, C. Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing of Phytoplankton Pigment Absorption Properties in Cyanobacteria Bloom Waters: A Regional Example in the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1309.

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