Oceanic Primary Production: Estimation by Remote Sensing at Local and Regional Scales

Science  23 Sep 1988:
Vol. 241, Issue 4873, pp. 1613-1620
DOI: 10.1126/science.241.4873.1613


Satellites provide the only avenue by which marine primary production can be studied at ocean-basin scales. With maps of chlorophyll distribution derived from remotely sensed data on ocean color as input, deduction of a suitable algorithm for primary production is a problem in applied plant physiology. An algorithm is proposed that combines a spectral and angular model of submarine light with a model of the spectral response of algal photosynthesis. To apply the algorithm at large horizontal scale, a dynamic biogeography is needed for the physiological rate parameters and the biological structure of the water column. Fieldwork to obtain this type of data should be undertaken so that the use of satellite data in modern biological oceanography may be optimized.