Ocean biology - Chlorophyll
Buoys reporting biological data
Chlorophyll concentration (mg chl/m3)

Why we measure chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is the green pigment that plants use to absorb sunlight for photosynthesis. GoMOOS measures chlorophyll concentration as a proxy for the biomass of microscopic marine plants (i.e., phytoplankton). This is the first time that phytoplankton biomass has been monitored in the Gulf of Maine on a continuous basis in real time.

We measure chlorophyll along the Gulf of Maine coast. Plots above show how chlorophyll varied over the last eight days. Differences among buoy traces are the result of environmental factors, such as river input, cloud cover, winds, currents, and water stratification. Variation in chlorophyll, through time and across the Gulf, is an indicator of regional ecosystem health.

Page 1 | Page 2

Other web resources for chlorophyll

Studying Ocean Color From Space Teacher's Guide with Activities (NASA SeaWiFS Project)

From the Top of the World... to the Bottom of the Food Web (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences)

ShipMates: Ocean Plankton Biology (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences)

Phytoplankton Are Your Friends (The Remarkable Ocean World)

The Mean Green Carbohydrate Machine (The Remarkable Ocean World)