Sara Lubkin – Northern Virginia Community College

Statement of Purpose:

Harmful algal blooms are overgrowths of phytoplankton that are harmful to the environment and other living things. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is especially concerned about blooms of two dinoflagellate species: Cochlodinium polykrikoides and Alexandrium monilatum in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Cochlodinium polykrikoides is a cosmopolitan species found in temperate and tropical waters around the world. The species is well-studied and has been present in Virginia waters for at least 50 years. Alexandrium monilatum is an invasive species in Virginia and was not known from waters north of Florida until 2007. While algal blooms are monitored from the ground using research ships and flow-through meters, in-situ monitoring is costly. But, observing blooms using remote sensing has been challenging. MODIS aqua is able to image chlorophyll, but its 1 km resolution is too large for Virginia’s rivers. Landsat 8 has a more appropriate (30 m) resolution, but chlorophyll products are not regularly available. Hyperspectral was used to determine which bands/band ratios would be best for imaging the blooms. While the bands that worked best are not present in Landsat imagery, it was possible to view the blooms using Sentinel 2 imagery.


Description of Data Sets:

NASA Brandywine CHAI V640 hyperspectral imagery (6 scenes from the James River, 7 from the York River)
Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS Level 2 Product (Path 15, Row 34) and Sentinel 2 Data (Chesapeake Bay)
o Downloaded from USG’s Earth Explorer site
In-situ data collected by VIMS and ODU
o Excel file containing latitude, longitude, calibrated chlorophyll and other fields