University Of Tasmania
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Mapping the in situ microspatial distribution of ice algal biomass through hyperspectral imaging of sea-ice cores

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 19:53 authored by Emiliano CimoliEmiliano Cimoli, Vanessa LucieerVanessa Lucieer, Klaus MeinersKlaus Meiners, Chennu, A, Katerina Castrisios, Ryan, KG, Lund-Hansen, LC, Martin, A, Fraser KennedyFraser Kennedy, Arko LucieerArko Lucieer

Ice-associated microalgae make a significant seasonal contribution to primary production and biogeochemical cycling in polar regions. However, the distribution of algal cells is driven by strong physicochemical gradients which lead to a degree of microspatial variability in the microbial biomass that is significant, but difficult to quantify. We address this methodological gap by employing a field-deployable hyperspectral scanning and photogrammetric approach to study sea-ice cores. The optical set-up facilitated unsupervised mapping of the vertical and horizontal distribution of phototrophic biomass in sea-ice cores at mm-scale resolution (using chlorophyll a [Chl a] as proxy), and enabled the development of novel spectral indices to be tested against extracted Chl a (R2 ≤ 0.84). The modelled bio-optical relationships were applied to hyperspectral imagery captured both in situ (using an under-ice sliding platform) and ex situ (on the extracted cores) to quantitatively map Chl a in mg m−2 at high-resolution (≤ 2.4 mm). The optical quantification of Chl a on a per-pixel basis represents a step-change in characterising microspatial variation in the distribution of ice-associated algae. This study highlights the need to increase the resolution at which we monitor under-ice biophysical systems, and the emerging capability of hyperspectral imaging technologies to deliver on this research goal.


Australian Research Council

Australian National University

Curtin University

University of Canberra

University of Melbourne

University of New South Wales

University of South Australia

University of Western Australia


Publication title

Scientific Reports



Article number









School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Nature Publishing Group

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors Tis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments not elsewhere classified

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