SIMoN
  Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Monitoring Project

Plumes and Blooms

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Dave Siegel
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Stephane Maritorena
    University of California, Santa Barbara
Start Date: August 01, 1996

The Plumes and Blooms Project is aimed at understanding the ocean color roles of sediment plumes and phytoplankton blooms in a complex coastal ocean using satellite and ship acquired data. Specifically, we focus on:
Conducting a monthly field sampling program of optical, biological, biogeochemical & hydrographic parameters in the Santa Barbara Channel
Understanding how phytoplankton functional type (PFT) regulates ocean color and inherent optical property (IOP) variability
Investigating the relationships among the particle size distribution (PSD) and IOPs and developing methods for the robust assessment of PSD using ocean color imagery
Using the PnB ship and satellite observations to help improve our understanding of the dynamics of phytoplankton blooms and sediment plumes in a complex coastal ocean

Summary to Date

The goal of the Plume and Blooms project is to describe and monitor the seasonal, inter-annual and long-term variability of the Santa Barbara Channel water components. In order to achieve this goal, the development and maintenance of consistent time series measurements are necessary. The Plumes and Blooms field program consists in monthly observations of optical properties of the waters alongside physical, chemical and biological characteristics. Our set of repeated observations are performed at 7 stations distributed along a transect line running from Santa Rosa to Goleta Point. The data collected during our cruises include CTD and optical profiles, light absorption properties, phytoplankton pigments, nutrients, silica, alkalinity, organic and inorganic carbon, concentration and size distribution of suspended particles and harmful algal bloom monitoring. The development of this data set provides a framework for temporal and spatial variability analysis. It also represents a critical step for ocean color algorithm development and satellite measurement validation. The hydrographic observations from PnB also provide an offshore end member sampling for the Santa Barbara Coastal Long-Term Ecological Research site (SBC-LTER).

Discussion

For the purposes of research, general outreach and education, the Plumes and Blooms Project allows online public access to the environmental data set (http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/PnB/PnB.html) and to ocean surface temperature and chlorophyll from satellite sensors (http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/~fields/wifsTest/ ; http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/~fields/aqua/). The Plumes and Blooms data are also submitted to the NASA ocean color database (SeaBASS; seabass.gsfc.nasa.gov) on a regular basis. Two students have completed their PhD dissertations, respectively in 2009 and 2014, based on the Plumes and Blooms data set. Two more students will complete their dissertations this coming year.

Study Parameters

  • Biomass
  • Abundance
  • Distribution
  • Size structure
  • Temperature
  • Optical properties
  • Density
  • Salinity
  • Wind
  • Conductivity
  • Chl A
  • N
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Phosphate
  • Other nutrients
  • Conductivity
  • Biomass
  • Abundance
  • Distribution
  • Size structure
  • Temperature
  • Optical properties
  • Salinity
  • Conductivity
  • Chl A
  • P
  • N
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Phosphate
  • Other nutrients
  • Conductivity
  • pH
  • Turbidity

Study Methods

Vertical profiles of ocean optical and physical properties are measured using various sensors attached to the CTD system and free-fall spectral radiometers.
Seawater samples are collected at surface and depth for laboratory analyses of chemical (nutrients), optical (light absorption) and biological (phytoplankton) parameters. Nutrients are analyzed on a flow injection analyzer. Absorption coefficients of particles and dissolved material are determined in a spectrophotometer. Chlorophyll-a concentrations are measured fluorometrically and an extensive range of phytoplankton pigments are determined by HPLC.

Figures and Images

Figure 1. Recovering the CTD from the deck of the RV Shearwater.


Figure 2. Temperature in relation to year (1997-2013).