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Publication Detail
MERIS observations of phytoplankton phenology in the Baltic Sea
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Zhang D, Lavender S, Muller JP, Walton D, Zou X, Shi F
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    447, 462
  • Journal:
    Science of the Total Environment
  • Volume:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V. The historical data from the MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) is an invaluable archive for studying global waters from inland lakes to open oceans. Although the MERIS sensor ceased to operate in April 2012, the data capacities are now re-established through the recently launched Sentinel-3 Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI). The development of a consistent time series for investigating phytoplankton phenology features is crucial if the potential of MERIS and OLCI data is to be fully exploited for inland water monitoring. This study presents a time series of phytoplankton abundance and bloom spatial extent for the highly eutrophic inland water of the Baltic Sea using the 10-year MERIS archive (2002–2011) and a chlorophyll-a based Summed Positive Peaks (SPP) algorithm. A gradient approach in conjunction with the histogram analysis was used to determine a global threshold from the entire collection of SPP images for identifying phytoplankton blooms. This allows spatio-temporal dynamics of daily bloom coverage, timing, phytoplankton abundance and spatial extent to be investigated for each Baltic basin. Furthermore, a number of meteorological and hydrological variables, including spring excess phosphate, summer sea surface temperature and photosynthetically active radiation, were explored using boosted regression trees and generalised additive models to understand the ecological response of phytoplankton assemblages to environmental perturbations and potential predictor variables of summer blooms. The results indicate that the surface layer excess phosphate available in February and March had paramount importance over all other variables considered in governing summer bloom abundance in the major Baltic basins. This finding allows new insights into the development of early warning systems for summer phytoplankton blooms in the Baltic Sea and elsewhere.
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