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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Single Turnover Active Fluorescence of Enclosed Samples for Aquatic Primary Productivity (STAFES-APP)

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In collaboration with industry and academic partners we are developing a new generation of active chlorophyll fluorometers for the estimation of phytoplankton primary production on autonomous platforms.

Photo of researchers installing instrument
Lab version of the instrument being installed on a research ship

Primary production carried out by marine phytoplankton contributes approximately half the photosynthesis on the planet and forms the base of the marine food chain. Oceanic primary production is highly variable over a wide range of time and space scales. Accurate measurements of primary production using techniques which can capture variability over scales from a few metres to 1000s of km, and from hours – years, are thus crucial for understanding the global carbon cycle, oceanic ecosystem function and the responses of these processes to global change. In particular, there is a pressing need to develop techniques that can be deployed using the rapidly expanding capacity of Marine Autonomous Systems (MASs), such as floats, gliders and other AUVs. Active chlorophyll fluorescence measurements represent one of the only measurement technologies currently capable of achieving this goal.

Within the STAFES-APP project we are developing the next generation of such active chlorophyll fluorometers, with the aim of improving the capability of ship-deployable laboratory systems alongside the development of a novel in-situ system optimised for MAS deployment.

This project is funded by NERC.

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