Optical habitats of Ultraphytoplankton groups in the Gulf of Eilat (AQABA), Northern Red Sea

Gal Dishon, Zvy Dubinsky, Tamir Caras, Eyal Rahav, Edo Bar-Zeev, Yael Tzubery, David Iluz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Solar light penetrates deep into the clear water of oligotrophic oceans and may have both beneficial and destructive effects on marine phytoplankton. In oligotrophic waters worldwide, phytoplankton communities consist mostly of ultraphytoplankton of the groups Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus, which differ in their optical properties and, therefore, are better suited for thriving in different niches along the natural vertical light gradient. In this article, we aim to draw the optical boundaries separating the two populations in order to get a better insight into the light-driven dynamics in ultraphytoplankton-community structure and to predict future trends. We report spectral, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) penetration through the stratified season along with temporal and vertical distributions of Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus in the Gulf of Eilat (Aqaba). These light-field parameters are used to define the apparent limits of the vertical distribution of Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus throughout the water column. Furthermore, we formulate the necessary empirical algorithms, allowing for characterization of the optical habitats defined in this study by remote-sensed or in situ radiometric measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2683-2705
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number9
Early online date30 Sep 2011
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by NATO SfP 981883. We thank the staff of the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences at Eilat for funding and logistic support. Special thanks to the NMP team for the data sharing and the help in fieldwork, which made this study possible.

Funding Information:
The Mediterranean project was supported by Israel Science Foundation grants (996/08) to Ilana Berman-Frank and Barak Herut and is partial fulfilment of a PhD thesis for Eyal Rahav from Bar Ilan University.


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