Ocean Colour Remote Sensing of Harmful Algal Blooms in the Benguela System

  • Stewart BernardEmail author
  • Grant Pitcher
  • Hayley Evers-King
  • Lisl Robertson
  • Mark Matthews
  • Andy Rabagliati
  • Christelle Balt


The Benguela, as a highly productive upwelling system, suffers from the occurrence of a variety of harmful algal blooms, most of which are associated with elevated biomass; a feature common to the shelf environment of upwelling systems. Most harmful blooms have in the past been attributed to one or another dinoflagellate species, but more recently harmful impacts have also been ascribed to other groups of phytoplankton, including diatom and autotrophic ciliate species. Typical bloom assemblages, forcing mechanisms and harmful impacts are outlined, and bloom types most amenable to detection with ocean colour radiometry are identified. Inherent and apparent optical properties of these algal assemblage types are described, and a preliminary evaluation is made of the suitability of available ocean colour data and algorithms. The evolution of several bloom events is described using various algorithms applied to ocean colour data from the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), and recommendations are made about optimal ocean colour usage for high biomass algal blooms in coastal zones.


Effective Diameter Ocean Colour Domoic Acid Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Inherent Optical Property 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stewart Bernard
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Grant Pitcher
    • 3
  • Hayley Evers-King
    • 2
  • Lisl Robertson
    • 2
  • Mark Matthews
    • 2
    • 5
  • Andy Rabagliati
    • 2
  • Christelle Balt
    • 4
  1. 1.Council for Scientific and Industrial ResearchNatural Resources and EcosystemsCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of OceanographyUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Fisheries Research and Development, Department of AgricultureForestry and FisheriesCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandNarragansettUSA
  5. 5.Also at: University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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