Discrimination of Phytoplankton Taxa in the Optically Complex Waters of Chesapeake Bay

Principal Investigator:

Greg Silsbe

Start/End Year:

2020 - 2021


Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Co-Principal Investigator:

Anna Windle


Strategic focus area:

Healthy coastal ecosystems


A spectral library of remote sensing reflectance for major phytoplankton taxonomic groups in the Chesapeake Bay will be developed using measured and modeled inherent optical properties as inputs into radiative transfer equations (HydroLight TM). The spectral library will be used to develop a phytoplankton discrimination algorithm in order to distinguish major phytoplankton taxa and sediment types in Chesapeake Bay waters. Hyperspectral remote sensing reflectance spectra collected from an unoccupied aircraft system (UAS) or the upcoming hyperspectral satellite mission, PACE, can be used as inputs to the algorithm to effectively quantify and map phytoplankton taxonomic-specific biomass. This proposed research has the potential to significantly improve decision making regarding water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

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