University Of Tasmania
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Towards improved estimates of sea-ice algal biomass: experimental assessment of hyperspectral imaging cameras for under-ice studies

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Ice algae are a key component in polar marine food webs and have an active role in large-scale biogeochemical cycles. They remain extremely under-sampled due to the coarse nature of traditional point sampling methods compounded by the general logistical limitations of surveying in polar regions. This study provides a first assessment of hyperspectral imaging as an under-ice remote-sensing method to capture sea-ice algae biomass spatial variability at the ice/water interface. Ice-algal cultures were inoculated in a unique inverted sea-ice simulation tank at increasing concentrations over designated cylinder enclosures and sparsely across the ice/water interface. Hyperspectral images of the sea ice were acquired with a pushbroom sensor attaining 0.9 mm square pixel spatial resolution for three different spectral resolutions (1.7, 3.4, 6.7 nm). Image analysis revealed biomass distribution matching the inoculated chlorophyll a concentrations within each cylinder. While spectral resolutions >6 nm hindered biomass differentiation, 1.7 and 3.4 nm were able to resolve spatial variation in ice algal biomass implying a coherent sensor selection. The inverted ice tank provided a suitable sea-ice analogue platform for testing key parameters of the methodology. The results highlight the potential of hyperspectral imaging to capture sea-ice algal biomass variability at unprecedented scales in a non-invasive way.


Publication title

Annals of Glaciology




75 pt1






Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Int Glaciol Soc

Place of publication

Lensfield Rd, Cambridge, England, Cb2 1Er

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 The Author. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems