Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2851
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2851
08 Dec 2023
 | 08 Dec 2023

Phytoplankton Community Composition in the Eastern Subarctic Pacific Derived from Hyperspectral Optics

Sacchidanandan Viruthasalam Pillai, M. Angelica Peña, Brandon J. McNabb, William J. Burt, and Philippe D. Tortell

Abstract. We evaluate the utility of hyperspectral particulate absorption data to characterize phytoplankton community structure in the eastern Subarctic Pacific Ocean. Relative to existing algorithms based solely on Chlorophyll-a concentrations (Chla), improved taxonomic classification (validated with pigment-based data) was obtained by including Principal Components Analysis of hyperspectral absorption data. Multiple linear regression of hyperspectral absorption data yielded better taxonomic classification, particularly for estimates of haptophyte biomass. In addition, size-fractionated hyperspectral measurements were used to determine the dominant phytoplankton size of the phytoplankton community. Using high-frequency ship-board optical data, we examined the spatial patterns in phytoplankton taxonomic abundance in coastal and offshore waters around Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Results from this analysis were consistent with expectations based on previous low-resolution sampling, demonstrating expected seasonal succession of different phytoplankton groups, and significant variability in coastal phytoplankton taxonomy associated with dominant hydrographic features. In contrast, much less spatial and temporal variability was observed in offshore waters. Derived patterns in phytoplankton taxonomy were linked to observed patterns in surface water biogeochemical properties, notably the distribution of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) to Chla ratios. Our results highlight the potential for shipboard hyperspectral absorption data to describe phytoplankton community composition and ancillary biogeochemical variables.

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Sacchidanandan Viruthasalam Pillai, M. Angelica Peña, Brandon J. McNabb, William J. Burt, and Philippe D. Tortell

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2851', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Sacchidanandan Pillai, 15 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2851', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Jan 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Sacchidanandan Pillai, 15 Feb 2024
Sacchidanandan Viruthasalam Pillai, M. Angelica Peña, Brandon J. McNabb, William J. Burt, and Philippe D. Tortell
Sacchidanandan Viruthasalam Pillai, M. Angelica Peña, Brandon J. McNabb, William J. Burt, and Philippe D. Tortell

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Short summary
We investigated how hyperspectral optical data collected in the North Pacific can be used to determine the phytoplankton community composition. We used the optically derived infomation of the phytoplankton community to examine the phytoplankton sizes, oceanographic controls and links to other biogeochemical variables. This work was motivated by the upcoming launch of the PACE satellite by NASA and the increased availability of hyperspectral optical measurements in oceanographic studies.