Plymouth Marine Laboratory
PORTWIMS Newsletter - December 2020
Message from the Project Coordinator
While this has been a challenging year for us all and PORTWIMS activities have been heavily impacted by the COVID pandemic, I'm pleased to report that progress has continued.  Virtual scientific exchanges have been occurring between team members, papers have been published and proposals written.  Plus, the European Commission have agreed to extend PORTWIMS for 9 months to enable us to complete all our activities as planned.  This is great news and means the project will now end in May 2022.
----- PORTWIMS Scientific Papers published -----
Phytoplankton observation by optical microscopy"
Differences in phytoplankton community patterns in two wide-open bays, shaped by local environmental variables
University of Lisbon researcher, Mariana Santos and colleagues have investigated the main meteorological and oceanographic drivers shaping phytoplankton community structure and dynamics in two wide-open bays influenced by coastal upwelling. Local processes influencing the proliferation of harmful algal bloom species were also investigated.
Available soon
​check the website for links
Changes in phytoplankton communities along the northern Antarctic Peninsula
Afonso Ferreira has led a study on the Northern Antarctic Peninsula.  Located in West Antarctica, it is amongst the most impacted regions by recent warming events. This study reviews the current findings on impacts observed in phytoplankton communities occurring in this region, with a focus on its causes, consequences, and the potential research priorities toward an integrated comprehension of the physical–biological coupling and climate perspective.
Read more
Detecting Harmful Algal Blooms from space to inform aquaculture farms
This paper originates from a joint project between the University of Lisbon and PML. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a recurrent phenomena in coastal zones, causing major economic damages in aquaculture farms. The team investigated the optical properties of a well-know HAB species, Karenia mikimotoi, in laboratory experiments and used the results as a training dataset to develop an algorithm capable of detecting Karenia blooms by remote sensing. This will offer the ability to provide an early warning alert for aquaculture farms, which could reduce the negative impact of the HABs.
Available soon
check the website for links
Spatial variability & detection levels for Chlorophyll-a estimates in high latitude lakes
The team investigated the suitability of Landsat 30 m resolution imagery to assess chlorophyll concentrations in lakes under varying trophic conditions. In situ data, obtained from 19 lakes across extensive high-latitude areas in Finland, was used to generate remote sensing estimates of chlorophyll.  The team took advantage of the long-time span of data available from the Landsat satellite. Their results show that linear models can explain approximately 50% of the chlorophyll interannual variability depending on the lake’s trophic state.
Read more
--------------------- New projects ---------------------
New ventures
PORTWIMS scientists have recieved funding from the  Portuguese Polar Programme.  The Response of two Southern Ocean PHYTOplankton Species to climate-driven changes in the UPper ocean project is led by Ana Brito from the University of Lisbon and will fund Afonso Ferreira to go to Rio Grande do Sul University in Brazil to pursue his PhD work with his co-supervisor.
Giulia Sent and Andreia Tracana preparing the atmospheric dust collector on AMT and example phytoplankton species found on the cruise
CHASE will continue PORTWIMS work 
Researchers from the University of Lisbon took part in AMT research cruises in 2018 and 2019 to conduct daily sampling of atmospheric dust and plankton. The researchers and their colleagues are now analysing the samples as part of the CHASing the environmental Effects of dust deposition across the Atlantic and Southern Ocean: a coccolithophore perspective (CHASE) project.  Taxonomic identification of coccolithophores from the plankton samples is almost complete.  CHASE will expand existing knowledge on the transatlantic export productivity of this species towards an environmentally broader perspective, spanning tropical, subtropical, temperate, subpolar and polar waters across the entire Atlantic and Southern Ocean.
Read more
--------------------- Other news ---------------------
Sharing PORTWIMS knowledge
Even through the global pandemic, project coordinator Vanda Brotas has been busy communicating her knowledge on ocean colour and earth observation. She participated in a warm up session as part of the annual Portuguese scientific event, sponsered by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, on the 21st October 2020. Entitled “Digital Planet: New opportunities, business and employment linked with Earth Observation and Climate Change”, the panel included the Portuguese Minister of Science.
Vanda also discussed ocean colour and satellites on the Portuguese radio programme; 90 Seconds of Science, which is available to listen to online.   
Listen to Vanda on 90 Seconds of Science
Intercalibration of methodology
The analysis of the photosynthetic pigments concentration in the water column is a crucial tool to estimate the phytoplantkon biomass and community composition. Both University of Lisbon and AWI are involved in an intercalibration exercise, with the Joint Research Centre and other European and non-European laboratories. The second exercise is taking place this year, achieving a key goal of the PORTWIMS partners.
Copyright © 2018. Plymouth Marine Laboratory on behalf of PORTWIMS. All rights reserved.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 810139.
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