Research Experience in Ocean/Marine Science
data depends on the accurate measurement of light intensity at visible
wavelengths of the surface waters. In the ocean, light is reflected primarily
by particulate matter suspended in the water, while absorption is primarily
due to the chlorophyll content, which is present in phytoplankton. The
net result of these interactions is light radiation from the water surface
called the water-leaving radiance. Sensors such as the MODIS measure the
radiance intensity at a given wavelength. These measurements can then
be quantitatively related to the various constituents in the water column
that interact with visible light, like chlorophyll.
The plan is
to study the concentration of phytoplankton from Cape Hatteras to Cape
Cod year round through the analysis of Ocean Color data Students will
learn to use and analyze this data using remote sensing and digital image
processing software such as ERDAS imagine, ENVI, or IDRISI to quantity
the phytoplankton distribution with changing seasons. Periodic ground
truthing of the satellite data will be accomplished by water sampling
and analysis for the type and amount of phytoplankton using accepted analytical
procedures. Collection of data and some water sampling will take place
both locally and onboard a NOAA Research Vessel for ground checking of
satellite data by teams of students.
Most of the work will be conducted during a summer for six weeks. However, collection of data and some water sampling will be done throughout the rest of the year for ground checking of satellite data by teams of students. Training of undergraduates through research, field work and observations is imperative in the departments goal of producing quality students well prepared to continue their professional development either through employment or through graduate school. These undergraduate research projects will go a long way in making these goals a reality. In addition, the proposed study will add to the understanding of the coastal water processes in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. The data from this study will also be useful in understanding the relationship between these two variables, and may be used in conjunction with other data such as water quality, fishery catch, and population of economically important aquatic organisms.