Master thesis: Calculation of long-term synergies of Phytoplankton Funtional Types from OLCI and TROPOMI measurements

Alfred Wegener Institute
December 03, 2022
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Master thesis: Calculation of long-term synergies of Phytoplankton Funtional

Types from OLCI and TROPOMI measurements

Background Phytoplankton play an important role in the aquatic biogeochemical cycling such as for the formation of organic matter by photosynthetic processes through the fixation of carbon dioxide, and assimilation of macro- and micronutrients depending on their metabolic needs. These processes are common to all phytoplankton; however, some phytoplankton groups have specific needs and thus play different functional roles in the biogeochemical cycle. Information on the phytoplankton groups (PFTs) can be obtained from satellite observations such as the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) on board of Sentinel-3 as well as the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on board the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite. PFTs global ocean abundance from multispectral satellites can be estimated based on the OC-PFT algorithm which is based on the assumption that a marker pigment for a specific PFT varies in dependence to the chlorophyll-a concentration. While PFTs from hyperspectral satellite measurements, as from TROPOMI, can be estimated by Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) method. Chlorophyll-a concentration for three main phytoplankton functional types (diatoms, coccolithophores and cyanobacteria) are derived by combining retrievals from space-borne measurements at a high spatial resolution by the empirical OC-PFT algorithm applied to OLCI data with data retrieved from TROPOMI at measurements high spectral resolution by analytical method (Phyto- DOAS). Previous algorithm and data set based on OC-PFT retrievals applied to OC-CCI Chlorophyll-a product and Phyto-DOAS retrievals from SCIAMACHY data have shown the validity and high quality of the synergistic PFT product.


  • Evaluation of PFT time series from OLCI and TROPOMI
  • Evaluation of different synergistic approaches for sample dataset
  • Long-term computation of synergistic from OLCI and TROPOMI (2018-2021)
  • Requirements

  • Strong background in physics or biology
  • Interest in quantitative aspects of physics, chemistry and biology
  • Basic knowledge of programming in python
  • Willingness to work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Further Information The place of employment will be Bremerhaven/Bremen.

    Work time: flexible Start time: as soon as possible

    Exist the possibility to participate in measurement campaign during summer at Lake Constance.

    You are interested? Then please send us your application with Cover letter and CV (with all documents merged into one PDF file) by e-mail to: Dr. Leonardo Alvarado (

    For further information, please contact Dr. Leonardo Alvarado (, +49 471 4831 1785).

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