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Improved monitoring of phytoplankton bloom dynamics in a Norwegian fjord by integrating satellite data, pigment analysis, and Ferrybox data with a coastal observation network


Monitoring of the coastal environment is vitally important as these areas are of economic value and at the same time highly exposed to anthropogenic influence, in addition to variation of environmental variables. In this paper we show how the combination of bio-optical data from satellites, analysis of water samples, and a ship-mounted automatic flow-through sensor system (Ferrybox) can be used to detect and monitor phytoplankton blooms both spatially and temporally. Chlorophyll a (Chl a) data and turbidity from Ferrybox are combined with remotely sensed Chl a and total suspended matter from the MERIS instrument aboard the satellite ENVISAT (ENVIronmental SATellite) European Space Agency. Data from phytoplankton speciation and enumeration obtained by a national coastal observation network consisting of fish farms and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority are supplemented with data on phytoplankton pigments. All the data sets are then integrated in order to describe phytoplankton bloom dynamics in a Norwegian fjord over a growth season, with particular focus on Emiliania huxleyi. The approach represents a case example of how coastal environmental monitoring can be improved with existing instrument platforms. The objectives of the paper is to present the operative phytoplankton monitoring scheme in Norway, and to present an improved model of how such a scheme can be designed for a large part of the world's coastal areas.


Academic article




  • Zsolt Volent
  • Geir Johnsen
  • Erlend Kjeldsberg Hovland
  • Are Folkestad
  • Lasse Mork Olsen
  • Karl Tangen
  • Kai Sørensen


  • SINTEF Ocean / Aquaculture
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Norwegian Institute of Water Research
  • SINTEF Ocean / Fisheries and New Biomarine Industry



Published in

Journal of Applied Remote Sensing




SPIE - The International Society for Optics and Photonics



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