From In Situ to satellite observations of pelagic Sargassum distribution and aggregation in the Tropical North Atlantic Ocean

Autoři: Anouck Ody aff001;  Thierry Thibaut aff001;  Léo Berline aff001;  Thomas Changeux aff001;  Jean-Michel André aff001;  Cristèle Chevalier aff001;  Aurélie Blanfuné aff001;  Jean Blanchot aff001;  Sandrine Ruitton aff001;  Valérie Stiger-Pouvreau aff002;  Solène Connan aff002;  Jacques Grelet aff003;  Didier Aurelle aff001;  Mathilde Guéné aff004;  Hubert Bataille aff005;  Céline Bachelier aff003;  Dorian Guillemain aff006;  Natascha Schmidt aff001;  Vincent Fauvelle aff001;  Sophie Guasco aff001;  Frédéric Ménard aff001
Působiště autorů: Aix-Marseille Univ., Université de Toulon, CNRS, IRD, MIO UM 110, Marseille, France aff001;  Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO), Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM), LEMAR UMR 6539, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, Plouzané, France aff002;  IRD DR-OUEST, US191 IMAGO, Technopole de Brest-Iroise—Site de la Pointe du Diable, Plouzané, France aff003;  Université des Antilles, UMR BOREA, Campus de Fouillole, BP 592, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France aff004;  IRD, IRD-Images, Marseille, France aff005;  Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, IRSTEA, OSU PYTHEAS, Marseille, France aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222584


The present study reports on observations carried out in the Tropical North Atlantic in summer and autumn 2017, documenting Sargassum aggregations using both ship-deck observations and satellite sensor observations at three resolutions (MSI-10 m, OLCI-300 m, VIIRS-750 m and MODIS-1 km). Both datasets reported that in summer, Sargassum aggregations were mainly observed off Brazil and near the Caribbean Islands, while they accumulated near the African coast in autumn. Based on in situ observations, we propose a five-class typology allowing standardisation of the description of in situ Sargassum raft shapes and sizes. The most commonly observed Sargassum raft type was windrows, but large rafts composed of a quasi-circular patch hundreds of meters wide were also observed. Satellite imagery showed that these rafts formed larger Sargassum aggregations over a wide range of scales, with smaller aggregations (of tens of m2 area) nested within larger ones (of hundreds of km2). Match-ups between different satellite sensors and in situ observations were limited for this dataset, mainly because of high cloud cover during the periods of observation. Nevertheless, comparisons between the two datasets showed that satellite sensors successfully detected Sargassum abundance and aggregation patterns consistent with in situ observations. MODIS and VIIRS sensors were better suited to describing the Sargassum aggregation distribution and dynamics at Atlantic scale, while the new sensors, OLCI and MSI, proved their ability to detect Sargassum aggregations and to describe their (sub-) mesoscale nested structure. The high variability in raft shape, size, thickness, depth and biomass density observed in situ means that caution is called for when using satellite maps of Sargassum distribution and biomass estimation. Improvements would require additional in situ and airborne observations or very high-resolution satellite imagery.

Klíčová slova:

Biology and life sciences – Organisms – Eukaryota – Plants – Algae – Ecology – Ecological metrics – Biomass – Earth sciences – Atmospheric science – Meteorology – Wind – Clouds – Atmospheric physics – Atmospheric dynamics – Atmospheric clouds – Geomorphology – Topography – Landforms – Islands – Marine and aquatic sciences – Bodies of water – Sargasso Sea – Geophysics – Engineering and technology – Transportation – Ships – Physical sciences – Physics – Ecology and environmental sciences


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