Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Optical characterization of marine phytoplankton assemblages within surface waters of the western Arctic Ocean

TitleOptical characterization of marine phytoplankton assemblages within surface waters of the western Arctic Ocean
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsReynolds R.A, Stramski D
Date Published2019/11
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0024-3590
Accession NumberWOS:000495506200012
KeywordsBeaufort Sea; chlorophyll-a; community structure; dissolved organic-matter; functional types; light-absorption; Marine & Freshwater Biology; oceanography; particulate absorption; Plankton; quasi-analytical algorithm; remote-sensing reflectance; sea-ice cover

An extensive data set of measurements within the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas is used to characterize the optical properties of seawater associated with different phytoplankton communities. Hierarchical cluster analysis of diagnostic pigment concentrations partitioned stations into four distinct surface phytoplankton communities based on taxonomic composition and average cell size. Concurrent optical measurements of spectral absorption and backscattering coefficients and remote-sensing reflectance were used to characterize the magnitudes and spectral shapes of seawater optical properties associated with each phytoplankton assemblage. The results demonstrate measurable differences among communities in the average spectral shapes of the phytoplankton absorption coefficient. Similar or smaller differences were also observed in the spectral shapes of nonphytoplankton absorption coefficients and the particulate backscattering coefficient. Phytoplankton on average, however, contributed only 25% or less to the total absorption coefficient of seawater. Our analyses indicate that the interplay between the magnitudes and relative contributions of all optically significant constituents generally dampens any influence of varying phytoplankton absorption spectral shapes on the total absorption coefficient, yet there is still a marked discrimination observed in the spectral shape of the ratio of the total backscattering to total absorption coefficient and remote-sensing reflectance among the phytoplankton assemblages. These spectral variations arise mainly from differences in the bio-optical environment in which specific communities were found, as opposed to differences in the spectral shapes of phytoplankton optical properties per se. These results suggest potential approaches for the development of algorithms to assess phytoplankton community composition from measurements of seawater optical properties in western Arctic waters.

Student Publication: