Variability in Phytoplankton Community Structure and Diversity from Underway Optics

An ongoing project funded by NASA (SPURS-2) studies the upper ocean salinity features and their response to ocean dynamics. Rainfalls deposit variable amounts of rain, from intense and localized to light and widespread precipitation, that oceanic processes mix into ambient ocean waters. As part of this effort, APL / UW has outfitted the R/V Thompson with an instrument measuring salinity near the surface while the ship is moving. We also added a device to measuring biological tracers.

Our goal is to study how these tracers co-vary with salinity so that we can draw educated assumptions about the plankton community based on salinity observation alone, in-situ or from satellite.