Seminar: Observing Phytoplankton Groups from Space

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Organisation: Ghent University

Phytoplankton is the first level of the marine trophic chain. Phytoplankton composition varies across ocean biomes and the different phytoplankton groups influence marine ecosystem and biogeochemical processes. Continuous monitoring of phytoplankton composition is important not only to understand the biogeochemical processes such as nutrient uptake, carbon and energy transfer, but also for fisheries, aquatic environment, water quality and even human health when certain species cause, for example, harmful algal blooms. This presentation will cover several research foci and applications of retrieving phytoplankton composition and related information that are achieved through close teamwork and collaborations by the PhytoOptics group at AWI.

Four major aspects will be elucidated in the talk:

  1. Ground-truth optical and biogeochemical data collection during various expeditions;
  2. Multi-spectral ocean colour sensor based PFT retrieval and the corresponding operational PFT products; 
  3. Retrieval of the absorption and biomass of major PFTs from atmospheric sensors and synergistic products;
  4. Potential of German hyperspectral satellite EnMAP in coastal and inland water applications.

Recent ongoing activities and perspectives for upscaled explorations using data from various platforms will be also introduced with an open exchange of ideas and discussion.

Dr. Hongyan Xi received her Ph.D. in Geo-Information Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2011. She was then granted by the Canadian NSERC visiting fellowship working as a postdoctoral fellow at Maurice Lamontagne Institute (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) from 2011 to 2013. She moved to Germany in 2014 working in Remote Sensing Group at Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereron, and since 2017 in the PhytoOptics Group (led by Astrid Bracher) at Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). She has about 15 years study/research experiences in the field of ocean colour remote sensing covering diverse scales, such as water quality monitoring of eutrophicated inland waters, marine optics in Canadian subarctic regions, algorithm development on phytoplankton group identification and quantification in the frame of OC-TAC of Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS). Besides other project duties, her current research mainly focuses on long-term consistent observations of phytoplankton groups from space aiming to deliver a biogeochemical OMI (ocean monitoring indicator) for the CMEMS.

The seminar will take place on 17/02/2023 from 10:30 to 11:30, in room 3.1 of the S8 building, Sterre Campus (Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Gent).