Phytoplankton Genera Structure Revealed from the Multispectral Vertical Diffuse Attenuation Coefficient


The composition of phytoplankton and the concentration of pigments in their cells make their absorption and specific absorption coefficients key parameters for bio-optical modeling. This study investigated whether the multispectral vertical diffuse attenuation coefficient of downward irradiance (Kd) gradients could be a good framework for accessing phytoplankton genera. In situ measurements of remote sensing reflectance (Rrs), obtained in an Amazon Floodplain Lake (Lago Grande do Curuai), were used to invert Kd, focusing on Sentinel-3/Ocean and Land Color Instrument (OLCI) sensor bands. After that, an analysis based on the organization of three-way tables (STATICO) was applied to evaluate the relationships between phytoplankton genera and Kd at different OLCI bands. Our results indicate that phytoplankton genera are organized according to their ability to use light intensity and different spectral ranges of visible light (400 to 700 nm). As the light availability changes seasonally, the structure of phytoplankton changes as well. Some genera, such as Microcystis, are adapted to low light intensity at 550-650 nm, therefore high values of Kd in this range would indicate the dominance of Microcysts. Other genera, such as Aulacoseira, are highly adapted to harvesting blue-green light with higher intensity and probably grow in lakes with lower concentrations of colored dissolved organic matter that highly absorbs blue light (405-498). These findings are an important step to describing phytoplankton communities using orbital data in tropical freshwater floodplains. Furthermore, this approach can be used with biodiversity indexes to access phytoplankton diversity in these environments.