Phytoplankton in the ocean provides approximately half of global primary production and forms the foundation of the oceanic food chain. It is, therefore, of vital importance.
Optical remote sensing methods are used today to measure its biomass simultaneously and over large areas. In many coastal areas, however, the water is quite turbid and optically complex due to suspended matter and gelbstoff. It is therefore insufficient to use only a few spectral wavelengths for analysis, as is normally done in the open ocean.
The “Optical Oceanography” department develops methods for determining water constituents for coastal waters from data on the spectral reflectance of the water surface. We carry out measurements in and over the water, using satellites (ocean color), aircraft and drones. We are currently also studying methods with which phytoplankton diversity can be determined and dissolved as well as particulate organic carbon can be measured. This facilitates analysis of short-lived phenomena (eddies), medium-term events (algal blooms), long-term time series and climatic trends.
German Bight -image: data from ESA, processed by Hereon/KDO-