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Spatial variability in sea-ice algal biomass: an under-ice remote sensing perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 18:22 authored by Emiliano CimoliEmiliano Cimoli, Klaus MeinersKlaus Meiners, Lund-Hansen, LC, Vanessa LucieerVanessa Lucieer
Sea-ice algae are a paramount feature of polar marine ecosystems and ice algal standing stocks are characterized by a high spatio-temporal variability. Traditional sampling techniques, e.g., ice coring, are labor intensive, spatially limited and invasive, thereby limiting our understanding of ice algal biomass variability patterns. This has consequences for quantifying ice-associated algal biomass distribution, primary production, and detecting responses to changing environmental conditions. Close-range under-ice optical remote sensing techniques have emerged as a capable alternative providing non-invasive estimates of ice algal biomass and its spatial variability. In this review we first summarize observational studies, using both classical and new methods that aim to capture biomass variability at multiple spatial scales and identify the environmental drivers. We introduce the complex multi-disciplinary nature of under-ice spectral radiation profiling techniques and discuss relevant concepts of sea-ice radiative transfer and bio-optics. In addition, we tabulate and discuss advances and limitations of different statistical approaches used to correlate biomass and under-ice light spectral composition. We also explore theoretical and technical aspects of using Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), and Hyperspectral Imaging (HI) technology in an under-ice remote sensing context. The review concludes with an outlook and way forward to combine platforms and optical sensors to quantify ice algal spatial variability and establish relationships with its environmental drivers.


Publication title

Advances in Polar Science










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Polar Research Institute of China

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2017 © Advances in Polar Science

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems