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Michigan Tech Research Institute


Ocean color satellites have provided a synoptic view of global phytoplankton for over 25 years through near surface measurements of the concentration of chlorophyll a. While remote sensing of ocean color has revolutionized our understanding of phytoplankton and their role in the oceanic and freshwater ecosystems, it is important to consider both total phytoplankton biomass and changes in phytoplankton community composition in order to fully understand the dynamics of the aquatic ecosystems. With the upcoming launch of NASA's Plankton, Aerosol, Clouds, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission, we will be entering into a new era of global hyperspectral data, and with it, increased capabilities to monitor phytoplankton diversity from space. In this paper, we analyze the needs of the user community, review existing approaches for detecting phytoplankton community composition in situ and from space, and highlight the benefits that the PACE mission will bring. Using this three-pronged approach, we highlight the challenges and gaps to be addressed by the community going forward, while offering a vision of what global phytoplankton community composition will look like through the “eyes” of PACE.

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© 2024. Publisher’s version of record:

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Remote Sensing of Environment

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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