Presentation Title

The Exploration of the Chlorophyll and Fluorescence Ratio in Phytoplankton

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 269

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

Half of all photosynthesis occurs in the ocean, and the ocean stores far more carbon than either land vegetation or the atmosphere. In this project, we compare chlorophyll concentration and fluorescence measurements from NASA satellite imagery. Both chlorophyll concentration and fluorescence are related to photosynthesis, the process by which phytoplankton fix carbon dioxide into biomass using energy from the sun. The ratio of fluorescence to chlorophyll gives information on the phytoplankton species, and acts as an indicator for photosynthesis rates and physiological stressors. Our research focuses on these differences within phytoplankton in relation to their geography, using the Python computer language to plot gridded data from the SeaWiFs satellite. We focused on the role of iron, an important nutrient which is known to influence phytoplankton biomass, growth rate and species composition. We attempted to consider in detail in several regions where iron enrichment experiments have been performed, as well as with naturally high iron concentrations. Unfortunately, ocean color is limited by cloud coverage, and the iron enrichment experiment locations, all contained high concentrations of cloud coverage making it difficult to observe the data through SeaWiFs. Although we were unsuccessful in observing these specific regions, we still have a wealth of information throughout the rest of the ocean. Our framework also allows us to explore other large-scale features, such as the calcite belt in the Southern Hemisphere. The ratio between chlorophyll and fluorescence, and what information this provides on species composition and physiology, still remains relatively unexplored and we are eager to continue our journey in learning more about it.

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Nov 12th, 11:45 AM Nov 12th, 12:00 PM

The Exploration of the Chlorophyll and Fluorescence Ratio in Phytoplankton

HUB 269

Half of all photosynthesis occurs in the ocean, and the ocean stores far more carbon than either land vegetation or the atmosphere. In this project, we compare chlorophyll concentration and fluorescence measurements from NASA satellite imagery. Both chlorophyll concentration and fluorescence are related to photosynthesis, the process by which phytoplankton fix carbon dioxide into biomass using energy from the sun. The ratio of fluorescence to chlorophyll gives information on the phytoplankton species, and acts as an indicator for photosynthesis rates and physiological stressors. Our research focuses on these differences within phytoplankton in relation to their geography, using the Python computer language to plot gridded data from the SeaWiFs satellite. We focused on the role of iron, an important nutrient which is known to influence phytoplankton biomass, growth rate and species composition. We attempted to consider in detail in several regions where iron enrichment experiments have been performed, as well as with naturally high iron concentrations. Unfortunately, ocean color is limited by cloud coverage, and the iron enrichment experiment locations, all contained high concentrations of cloud coverage making it difficult to observe the data through SeaWiFs. Although we were unsuccessful in observing these specific regions, we still have a wealth of information throughout the rest of the ocean. Our framework also allows us to explore other large-scale features, such as the calcite belt in the Southern Hemisphere. The ratio between chlorophyll and fluorescence, and what information this provides on species composition and physiology, still remains relatively unexplored and we are eager to continue our journey in learning more about it.