Viewing Marine Bacteria, Their Activity and Response to Environmental Drivers from Orbit

Satellite Remote Sensing of Bacteria


Satellite-based remote sensing of marine microorganisms has become a useful tool in predicting human health risks associated with these microscopic targets. Early applications were focused on harmful algal blooms, but more recently methods have been developed to interrogate the ocean for bacteria. As satellite-based sensors have become more sophisticated and our ability to interpret information derived from these sensors has advanced, we have progressed from merely making fascinating pictures from space to developing process models with predictive capability. Our understanding of the role of marine microorganisms in primary production and global elemental cycles has been vastly improved as has our ability to use the combination of remote sensing data and models to provide early warning systems for disease outbreaks. This manuscript will discuss current approaches to monitoring cyanobacteria and vibrios, their activity and response to environmental drivers, and will also suggest future directions.

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The authors are grateful to the National Science Foundation (EF-0813285/EF-0813066/EF-1003943 to DJG and RRC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NA04-OAR-4600214 and NA-06-OAR4310119, UCAR Sub Award No. S09-75034 to DJG), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NNX09AR57G to DJG and NNX10AT99G to AS), and National Institutes of Health (2R01A1039129-11A2 to A. Huq and RRC) for their support.

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Correspondence to D. Jay Grimes.

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Grimes, D.J., Ford, T.E., Colwell, R.R. et al. Viewing Marine Bacteria, Their Activity and Response to Environmental Drivers from Orbit. Microb Ecol 67, 489–500 (2014).

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  • Vibrio
  • Cholera
  • Zebra Mussel
  • Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer
  • Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer