Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Water Quality
Aquatic microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in marine and estuarine environments with the focus on nutrients, eutrophication and Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB):
The last three decades have been marked by a new appreciation of the serious impacts of the marine phenomena we now call harmful algal blooms (HABs). These occurrences of toxic or harmful microalgae represent a significant and seemingly expanding threat to human health, fishery resources, and marine ecosystems throughout the world. There is growing evidence that increases in frequency and extent of some harmful bloom species are related to nutrient enrichment (eutrophication) in coastal waters and inland seas. However, the physiological mechanisms by which the HABs species respond to nutrient loading and environmental factors is still unclear. So, in the past few years, Dr. Fan's research has been focused on the relationship between nutrient loading and HABs population dynamics, by examining the physiological responses of several common bloom-forming dinoflagellate species (Especially Prorocentrum minimum) to different nitrogen substrate additions under various environmental conditions (such as light and temperature etc.).
Human impacts and eutrophication: monitoring the eutrophication process and HABs events on the watershed scale by using GIS/ remote sensing:
A systematic tool to monitor the eutrophication process at appropriate spatial and temporal scale is necessary to provide the guideline and scientific base for better resources management practices. Remote sensing and GIS are well suited for rapid environmental assessment at large spatial scales. Dr. Fan will collaborate with scientists from other institutions at NOAA Environmental Cooperative Sciences Center (ECSC), and develop a protocol to monitor the eutrophication processes based on the hyperspectral remote sensing technique. In this project, they will collect the hyperspectral reflectance profile of various phytoplankton populations in the mesocosm experiment and in the field. A database will be created on the relationship between phytoplankton population biomass, major groups, and their reflectance profiles. Finally, An eutrophication index will be produced based on the estimation of chlorophyll concentration and major phytoplankton groups from hyperspectral reflectance profiles for use in monitoring and managing eutrophication impacts in the watershed.