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Table 2

Characteristics of upper-ocean biology that can be derived from current multispectral and planned hyperspectral ocean colour remote sensing missions. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.331.t2

Upper-ocean biology characteristicCurrent multispectral ocean colour satellite radiometersFuture hyperspectral ocean colour satellite radiometers

 
Phytoplankton biomass Concentration of Chl-a (non-calcifying phytoplankton) and calcite (coccolithophores); phytoplankton carbon concentration Contributions of phytoplankton functional types (PFT) or size classes to total phytoplankton biomass; better separation of Chl-a from interference by CDOM 
Phytoplankton composition and succession Differentiation among limited number of broad phytoplankton groups (coccolithophores, diatoms, cyanobacteria) Differentiation among larger number of PFT and phytoplankton size classes 
Phytoplankton bloom phenology and bloom state Bloom onset, peak date, decline, and duration from time series of phytoplankton abundance at daily resolution PFT-specific bloom onset, peak date, decline, and duration from time series of phytoplankton abundance at daily resolution, concentration of Chl-a breakdown product (phaeophytin), properties of detrital material 
Organic carbon pool Concentrations of particulate organic carbon (POC), and absorption coefficients of CDOM and non-algal particles Concentration and PFT-specific nature of POC, and CDOM concentration and composition 
Particle size distribution Slope of particle size distribution from light backscattering coefficient Slope of particle size distribution from light backscattering coefficient with better accuracy 
Bacterial biomass Directly: Cyanobacteria; indirectly: using SST, CDOM, PAR, and Chl-a Potential to differentiate microbes with specific spectral absorption signatures 
Phytoplankton (photo)physiology Ratio of Chl-a to phytoplankton carbon at given growth irradiance,
nutrient limitation diagnosed from solar-stimulated fluorescence yields 
Concentration of Chl-a breakdown products (phaeophytin, phaeophorbide), improved estimation of Chl-a to phytoplankton carbon 
Ecological regime or structure Limited differentiation among functional assemblages of suspended particles (FAP) Differentiation among FAP 
Upper-ocean biology characteristicCurrent multispectral ocean colour satellite radiometersFuture hyperspectral ocean colour satellite radiometers

 
Phytoplankton biomass Concentration of Chl-a (non-calcifying phytoplankton) and calcite (coccolithophores); phytoplankton carbon concentration Contributions of phytoplankton functional types (PFT) or size classes to total phytoplankton biomass; better separation of Chl-a from interference by CDOM 
Phytoplankton composition and succession Differentiation among limited number of broad phytoplankton groups (coccolithophores, diatoms, cyanobacteria) Differentiation among larger number of PFT and phytoplankton size classes 
Phytoplankton bloom phenology and bloom state Bloom onset, peak date, decline, and duration from time series of phytoplankton abundance at daily resolution PFT-specific bloom onset, peak date, decline, and duration from time series of phytoplankton abundance at daily resolution, concentration of Chl-a breakdown product (phaeophytin), properties of detrital material 
Organic carbon pool Concentrations of particulate organic carbon (POC), and absorption coefficients of CDOM and non-algal particles Concentration and PFT-specific nature of POC, and CDOM concentration and composition 
Particle size distribution Slope of particle size distribution from light backscattering coefficient Slope of particle size distribution from light backscattering coefficient with better accuracy 
Bacterial biomass Directly: Cyanobacteria; indirectly: using SST, CDOM, PAR, and Chl-a Potential to differentiate microbes with specific spectral absorption signatures 
Phytoplankton (photo)physiology Ratio of Chl-a to phytoplankton carbon at given growth irradiance,
nutrient limitation diagnosed from solar-stimulated fluorescence yields 
Concentration of Chl-a breakdown products (phaeophytin, phaeophorbide), improved estimation of Chl-a to phytoplankton carbon 
Ecological regime or structure Limited differentiation among functional assemblages of suspended particles (FAP) Differentiation among FAP 
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