Automated, in-water determination of colored dissolved organic material and phytoplankton community structure using the Optical Phytoplankton Discriminator

Gary J. Kirkpatrick, David F. Millie, Mark A. Moline, Steven E. Lohrenz, Oscar M. Schofield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


Optical Phytoplankton Discriminator (OPD, a.k.a. BreveBuster) determines colored dissolved organic material (CDOM) absorption spectra and particulate light absorbance spectra. The CDOM absorption spectra and correlation coefficients (referred to as 'similarity indexes') between the particulate absorbance spectra and known phytoplankton classes are available in real-time. Post-deployment processing calculates the best fit of multiple absorbance spectra from known phytoplankton taxonomic classes. Through this process the OPD provides an estimate of the phytoplankton community chlorophyll distribution among the classes included in the fit process. The major components of the OPD include: a liquid-waveguide capillary cell (LWCC), a fiber-optic spectrometer, a tungsten-deuterium fiber-optic light and a 0.2 micrometer pore cross-flow filter. In-water operation of the OPD began in May 2003. Since that date 25 of these instruments have been deployed on a variety of autonomous underwater vehicles, buoys, piers, channel markers and boats and ships. It has been utilized in CDOM studies off the New Jersey coast, in HAB monitoring efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes, and in phytoplankton community structure studies in the Galapagos Islands and the Mediterranean Sea. Most recently, it has been deployed to Veracruz, Mexico for HAB monitoring. Presently, several OPD's operating on Slocum gliders and coastal buoys make up a local HAB observatory south of Tampa Bay, Florida, partially supported by the NOAA/IOOS through GCOOS. This presentation will detail the OPD's capabilities and report results from several of the deployments listed above. The ongoing effort to effectively visualize 4-D phytoplankton community structure will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOcean Sensing and Monitoring III
StatePublished - 2011
EventOcean Sensing and Monitoring III - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Apr 26 2011Apr 27 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOcean Sensing and Monitoring III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • BreveBuster
  • CDOM absorption spectrum
  • Fourth derivative vector
  • LWCC
  • OPD
  • Particle absorbance spectrum
  • Phytoplankton community structure


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