ARC Discovery: Southern Ocean bio-optics | Curtin’s Remote Sensing & Satellite Research Group

ARC Discovery: Southern Ocean bio-optics

Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project DP160103387

The Southern Ocean (SO) is a hugely important ecosystem for global climate, CO2 drawdown and ocean circulation but is vastly undersampled and poorly understood due to its remoteness and the often treacherous conditions. Phytoplankton are the link between atmospheric and oceanic processes in the SO and the drivers of the biological pump. Their ability to absorb and scatter light make them ideal to study using bio-optical tools and be monitored using satellite ocean colour radiometry (OCR), but the bio-optical properties of phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean are not well characterised. 

The DP160103387 project will integrate bio-optical measurements from multiple autonomous platforms to characterize bio-optical relationships of the SO, linking inherent optical properties (IOPs) and apparent optical properties (AOPs) to biogeochemical quantities e.g. chlorophyll-a and particulate organic carbon (POC). With the participation of project partners such as SOCCOM, SOCLIM and RemOcean we will use biogeochemical Argo (Bio-Argo) floats and specialized OCR validation floats (PROVAL) to study these relationships across vast spatial and temporal scales to untangle bio-optical relationship uncertainties and identify drivers of satellite algorithm anomalies. Incorporated into this study will be the unprecedented IOP, AOP and biogeochemical SO dataset from the 3 month Antarctic Circumpolar Expedition (ACE). Our improved understanding of bio-optics in the SO will be applied to satellite ocean colour observations to study the seasonal, inter-annual and decadal changes in SO phytoplankton.

Measurement conditions of the Southern ocean Photo credit C. Robinson A PROVAL float; photo credit E. Leymarie, CNRS-LOV


Weblinks to external websites (projects we collaborate with)

+ Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM)

+ Southern Ocean and Climate Field Studies with Innovative Tools (SOCLIM)

Mon océan et moi Outreach Program


Our partners in this project

Dr. Sandy Thomalla, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), University of Cape Town
Dr. Stanford Hooker, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA GSFC)
Dr. Nick Hardman-Mountford, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Prof. Emmanuel Boss, University of Maine
Dr. Séverine Alvain, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences (CNRS-LOG)
Dr. Julia Uitz, Dr Hervé Claustre, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer (CNRS-LOV)
Prof. Yannick Huot, Université de Sherbrooke


Data sets and publications

Coming soon.


Other elements

DP Project schematic. to come


Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group, Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102
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