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Application of the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean to Phytoplankton Ecology Studies in Monterey Bay, CA, USA

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As a demonstrator for technologies for the next generation of ocean color sensors, the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) provides enhanced spatial and spectral resolution that is required to understand optically complex aquatic environments. In this study we apply HICO, along with satellite remote sensing and in situ observations, to studies of phytoplankton ecology in a dynamic coastal upwelling environment-Monterey Bay, CA, USA. From a spring 2011 study, we examine HICO-detected spatial patterns in phytoplankton optical properties along an environmental gradient defined by upwelling flow patterns and along a temporal gradient of upwelling intensification. From a fall 2011 study, we use HICO's enhanced spatial and spectral resolution to distinguish a small-scale "red tide" bloom, and we examine bloom expansion and its supporting processes using other remote sensing and in situ data. From a spectacular HICO image of the Monterey Bay region acquired during fall of 2012, we present a suite of algorithm results for characterization of phytoplankton, and we examine the strengths, limitations, and distinctions of each algorithm in the context of the enhanced spatial and spectral resolution. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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