Our goal is to facilitate the use of satellite and other remote sensing systems by developing bio-optical models to effectively identify and quantify constituents in coastal and riverine waters. Ultimately, this will improve our spatial-temporal understanding of the impacts of forestry, agriculture, aquaculture and pollution, climate change in these waters.

We are currently researching the optical water properties and biochemistry of inland and coastal waters of Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea, Canada.  We use a set of field optical sensors to measure attenuation, absorption, upwelling and downwelling radiation, fluorescence, etc. These sensors detect light in fine spatial and spectral resolutions. We also work with airborne (casi) and satellite (Hyperion) hyperspectral and satellite muiltispectral (Sentinel-3, MODIS, VIIRS, SeaWifs) imagery.

Below is a summary of our current and past projects.  Click each one to learn more! 

Assisting Fisheries Management by Integration of Data from Non-Specialized Assets, Ferries, Citizens, and Satellites:

Ocean Colour
Observation Systems

We use satellites, sensors aboard BC Ferries, and passengers to collect data to quantify the health of our coastal waters. This can largely affect Pacific Salmon populations, which have been declining in the past decades.  

To help fisheries managers understand the health of our fish stocks we are using tablets and passengers to collect more information on the health of the ocean, or productivity.  


Spatial Temporal Distribution of Nereocystis Luetkeana (Bull Kelp) and use by Juvenile Salmonids in the Salish Sea

Kelp, specifically Nereocystic luekeana (bull kelp), form extensive forests in rocky habitats along the subtidal zone of the coast of British Columbia.  These kelp forests provide important habitat for juvenile salmon attracting their preferred food and providing protection from predators.  In alignment with the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project this research is looking at defining the surface extent of bull kelp beds using satellite imagery associated with sea-kayak surveys for several regions in the Gulf Islands National Reserve and in the Comox and Cowichan estuaries in collaboration with several environmental stewardship community organizations and First Nation groups.


Spatio-temporal analysis of the chlorophyll using satellite imagery of the Salish Sea

This portion of the project will look at the Salish Sea from space through satellite images to retrieve spatio-temporal chlorophyll concentrations of the Salish Sea. This involves developing a region-specific atmospheric correction algorithm to remove the interference of the atmosphere and increase the accuracy of the data coverage.  This results of this work will provide a reliable time series to analyze the long term trends in the Salish Sea. 

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Synchronicity between phytoplankton and zooplankton phenology in the Salish Sea

This project looks at long-term spatial data of phytoplankton and zooplankton to identify their response to different climate drivers (e.g. SST, wind) and global climatic indices. This will provide insight into their influence on the growth, survival, and overall return strength of salmon populations in the Salish Sea. This project will allow us to contribute to one of the primary objectives of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project (SSMSP), led by the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF), which is to assess whether the “bottom-up processes driven by annual environmental conditions are the primary determinate of salmon production via early marine survival.”


Long-Term Aerial Photographic Mapping of Eelgrass (Zostera Marina) in the Salish Sea (1932 - 2016)

As part of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project this research explores the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to deliver high resolution, affordable aerial photography for local-scale eelgrass (Zostera Marina) mapping projects and explores photo-interpretive and digital mapping methodologies for delineating eelgrass distribution.  Along modern UAV imagery this project uses archived historic aerial photography (1932-2014) to map historic eelgrass distribution and assess: changes of aerial extent, shape and edge characteristics, potential impacts of shoreline and watershed alterations, and priority sites for conservation and restoration.  



Modelling the Light Field in the Waters of the Equatorial Atlantic Under the Effects of the Amazon River Discharge

Due to high sediment loads produced by the Amazon River discharge there are light constraints for primary production in the waters of the Equatorial Atlantic.  The goal of this project is to define over time the horizontal and vertical structure of the light field and biogeochemical variables in these waters.   To accomplish this two surveys were conducted in the Equatorial Atlantic under the influence of the Amazon River plume to measure in situ water optical properties and biochemical compounds to characterize the variability.