Ecosystem health and commercial fishery production is impacted by plankton communities. We need comprehensive datasets of plankton to monitor and predict the general functioning of pelagic ecosystems, or fish that live in the open water, but existing efforts are limited. A project funded by the Climate Program Office’s Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM) Program is developing a global database of plankton community size structure to study pelagic ecosystems under current and predicted future stresses. This project was funded by COM’s 2021 competition to use important long-term NOAA observations to develop innovative ocean datasets.
An international group of researchers, including COM-supported Jessica Luo of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) and Rainier Kiko of Sorbonne University, France, are using multiple in situ image sources to create an integrated set of observations on plankton abundance and size. A postdoctoral researcher on the project, Mathilde Dugenne of Sorbonne University, will give a talk on this project at the 4th Marine Imaging Workshop hosted in Brest, France October 3-6, 2022. She will present the workflow implemented to standardize, harmonize, and integrate simultaneous observations on plankton abundance and size from images obtained with the Imaging FlowCytobot, the Underwater Vision Profiler, the ZooScan and the In Situ Ichtyoplankton Imaging System. The combined datasets produced in this project will be used to describe global patterns of pelagic size distribution, determine how global ocean changes can affect ecosystems, and be compared with biogeochemical models.