PROTOOL stands for PROductivity TOOLs: Automated Tools to Measure Primary Productivity in European Seas. The project will develop and adapt sensor technologies to measure primary production of phytoplankton with automated optical techniques, so that they can be placed on ships of opportunity (SOOP, ferries, container ships). The complete PROTOOL Measuring Device will consist of (1) a fluorometer measuring the rate of photosynthesis (using the variable fluorescence approach), (2) an algal absorption meter and (3) a hyperspectral reflectance unit. It will measure key water quality parameters like chlorophyll a, suspended matter concentrations and the light attenuation coefficient. The design will be modular so that each unit can also be used separately. The different versions of the sensors and protocol modules will be tested in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the English-Channel and the Gulf of Biscay, as well as in a number of Dutch estuaries. In the first 3 cases, the PROTOOL equipments will be placed next to a ferrybox on ships of opportunity. These field tests will provide the conversion factors required to calibrate the PROTOOL fluorometer. These campaigns will also produce maps of primary production with high temporal and spatial resolutions. The PROTOOL Measuring Device is unique because it is the first sensor technology that can measure autonomously biological process RATES and not only biological quantities (like chlorophyll concentration). It will provide detailed information on primary productivity which is a fundamental parameter in the carrying capacity of any ecosystem. With its technological development, PROTOOL will contribute to a much better assessment of changing marine ecosystems. PROTOOL partners will further promote the inclusion of primary production within the list of important biological properties to be considered for ecological status assessment in the future in the context of the Water Framework (WFD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directives.
Fields of science
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