C3 Director Professor Peter Ralph was one of only fourteen Australian scientists invited to attend a recent collaborative workshop on satellite sensing hosted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Climate change models rely on data collected from remote satellite sensors which detect differences in “ocean colour” caused by changes in algae concentration and suspended and dissolved materials. ISRO has multiple satellite sensors and the information collected could be used by Australian scientists to get a better understanding of how the interactions between oceanic ecosystems, climate and human impact affect ocean health.
Professor Ralph presented research from C3’s Aquatic Processes Group (APG) to explain how phytoplankton physiology can enhance remotely sensed predictions of algal biomass.
“The goal of satellite remote sensing is to estimate algal biomass of the entire water column, but in reality only the surface few metres are measured. Using bio-optical tools there is now an opportunity to link new technologies such as gliders and moorings to estimate the algal biomass for the entire water column, and this is how we’ll be able understand conditions associated with algal blooms or to predict the impact of pesticide run off into estuaries for example, “ Professor Ralph said.
The APG has developed considerable expertise in using fluorometry to measure photosynthetic mechanisms in sea-ice algae, seagrasses, estuaries and oceanographic systems and is integrating these skills into a bio-optics research program. The workshop was an excellent opportunity to connect with India’s research community.
The workshop, held in Ahmedabad from 16th – 18th March, was supported by the Commonwealth of Australia under the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. The Australian delegation was led by Dr Arnold Dekker from CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship.