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Monitoring of the 2011 Super Algal Bloom in Indian River Lagoon, FL, USA, Using MERIS

Department of Integrated Environmental Science, Bethune-Cookman University, 640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA
St. Johns River Water Management District, PO Box 1429, Palatka, FL 32178, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Deepak Mishra and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 1441-1460;
Received: 6 December 2014 / Revised: 25 December 2014 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 29 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Water Resources)
PDF [12458 KB, uploaded 29 January 2015]


During the spring of 2011 an unprecedented “Super” algal bloom formed in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), with Chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations over eight times the historical mean in some areas and lasted for seven months across the IRL. The European Space Agency’s MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) platform provided multispectral data at 665 and 708 nm, which was used to quantify the phytoplankton Chl a by fluorescence while minimizing the effects of other water column constituents. The three objectives were to: (1) calibrate and validate two Chl a algorithms using all available MERIS data of the IRL from 2002 to 2012; (2) determine the accuracy of the algorithms estimation of Chl a before, during, and after the 2011 super bloom; and (3) map the 2011 algal bloom using the Chl a algorithm that was proven to be effective in other similar estuaries. The chosen algorithm, Normalized Difference Chlorophyll Index (NDCI), was positively correlated with the in-situ measurements, with an R2 value of 0.798. While there was a significant (62.9 ± 25%) underestimation of Chl a using MERIS NDCI, the underestimation appears to be consistent across the data and mostly in the estimations of lower concentrations, suggesting that a qualitative or ratio analysis is still valid. Analysis of the application of the NDCI processed MERIS data provided additional insights that the in-situ measurements were unable to record. The time series MERIS Chl a maps along with in-situ water quality monitoring data depicted that the 2011 IRL bloom started after a heavy rainfall in March 2011 and peaked in October 2011 after a decrease in temperature. The bloom collapse also coincided with heavy rainfall and rapidly decreasing temperatures and salinity through October to November 2011. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chlorophyll a (Chl a); satellite remote sensing; MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer; algal bloom; Indian River Lagoon Chlorophyll a (Chl a); satellite remote sensing; MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer; algal bloom; Indian River Lagoon

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Kamerosky, A.; Cho, H.J.; Morris, L. Monitoring of the 2011 Super Algal Bloom in Indian River Lagoon, FL, USA, Using MERIS. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 1441-1460.

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