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Algorithms to estimate Antarctic sea ice algal biomass from under-ice irradiance spectra at regional scales


Melbourne-Thomas, J and Meiners, KM and Mundy, CJ and Schallenberg, C and Tattersall, KL and Dieckmann, GS, Algorithms to estimate Antarctic sea ice algal biomass from under-ice irradiance spectra at regional scales, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 536 pp. 107-121. ISSN 0171-8630 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Inter-Research

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps11396


The presence of algal pigments in sea ice alters under-ice irradiance spectra, and the relationship between these variables can be used as a non-invasive means for estimating ice-associated algal biomass on ecologically relevant spatial and temporal scales. While the influence of snow cover and ice algal biomass on spectra transmitted through the snow-ice matrix has been examined for the Arctic, it has not been tested for Antarctic sea ice at regional scales. We used paired measurements of sea ice core chl a concentrations and hyperspectral-transmitted under-ice irradiances from 59 sites sampled off East Antarctica and in the Weddell Sea to develop algorithms for estimating algal biomass in Antarctic pack ice. We compared 4 approaches that have been used in various bio-optical studies for marine systems: normalised difference indices, ratios of spectral irradiance, scaled band area and empirical orthogonal functions. The percentage of variance explained by these models ranged from 38 to 79%, with the best-performing approach being normalised difference indices. Given the low concentrations of integrated chl a observed in our study compared with previous studies, our statistical models performed surprisingly well in explaining variability in these concentrations. Our findings provide a basis for future work to develop methods for non-invasive time series measurements and medium- to large-scale spatial mapping of Antarctic ice algal biomass using instrumented underwater vehicles.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sea ice algae, chl a, bio-optics, normalised difference index, Weddell Sea, East Antarctica
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecosystem function
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Melbourne-Thomas, J (Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas)
UTAS Author:Meiners, KM (Dr Klaus Meiners)
UTAS Author:Schallenberg, C (Dr Christina Schallenberg)
UTAS Author:Tattersall, KL (Ms Katherine Tattersall)
ID Code:103249
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2015-09-30
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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