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Open AccessArticle

Identification of Phytoplankton Blooms under the Index of Inherent Optical Properties (IOP Index) in Optically Complex Waters

Facultad de Ciencias Marinas, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada 22860, Mexico
Alumni Ph.D. Posgraduated Program in Coastal Oceanography FCM-UABC, Ensenada 22860, Mexico
Facultad de Ciencias Marinas, Universidad de Colima, Manzanillo 28868, Mexico
NOAA-National Water Center (NWC), Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA
Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad, Mexico City 14010, Mexico
Institut d’Investigació per a la Gestió Integrada de Zones Costaneres, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46730 Gandia, Spain
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(2), 129;
Received: 23 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
PDF [2654 KB, uploaded 1 February 2018]


Phytoplankton blooms are sporadic events in time and are isolated in space. This complex phenomenon is produced by a variety of both natural and anthropogenic causes. Early detection of this phenomenon, as well as the classification of a water body under conditions of bloom or non-bloom, remains an unresolved problem. This research proposes the use of Inherent Optical Properties (IOPs) in optically complex waters to detect the bloom or non-bloom state of the phytoplankton community. An IOP index is calculated from the absorption coefficients of the colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), the phytoplankton ( phy ) and the detritus (d), using the wavelength (λ) 443 nm. The effectiveness of this index is tested in five bloom events in different places and with different characteristics from Mexican seas: 1. Dzilam (Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean), a diatom bloom (Rhizosolenia hebetata); 2. Holbox (Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean), a mixed bloom of dinoflagellates (Scrippsiella sp.) and diatoms (Chaetoceros sp.); 3. Campeche Bay in the Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic Ocean), a bloom of dinoflagellates (Karenia brevis); 4. Upper Gulf of California (UGC) (Pacific Ocean), a diatom bloom (Coscinodiscus and Pseudo-nitzschia) and 5. Todos Santos Bay, Ensenada (Pacific Ocean), a dinoflagellate bloom (Lingulodinium polyedrum). The diversity of sites show that the IOP index is a suitable method to determine the phytoplankton bloom conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: absorption coefficients; phytoplankton; detritus; CDOM; water quality; monitoring absorption coefficients; phytoplankton; detritus; CDOM; water quality; monitoring

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Aguilar-Maldonado, J.A.; Santamaría-del-Ángel, E.; González-Silvera, A.; Cervantes-Rosas, O.D.; López, L.M.; Gutiérrez-Magness, A.; Cerdeira-Estrada, S.; Sebastiá-Frasquet, M.-T. Identification of Phytoplankton Blooms under the Index of Inherent Optical Properties (IOP Index) in Optically Complex Waters. Water 2018, 10, 129.

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