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Assessing microphytobenthos structure in intertidal mudflats using visible - infrared remote sensing and pigment analysis by HLPC

Objective

Microphytobenthos, which is composed of photosynthetic unicellular organisms, could be the most important primary producer in coastal ecosystems containing large intertidal mud flats. In fine-sediment tidal areas, it is composed mainly of diatoms found in the upper millimetres of illuminated sediments where they form biofilms. These biofilms can become part of the phytoplankton when suspended by tidal currents and the interaction of wind and waves with the bottom. In fact, they may constitute much of the fo od available to the meio- and macrofauna. However, these ecosystems are not easily accessible because of the presence of fine sediments that form coastal mudflat. This difficulty limits the number of measurements essential for understanding the spatial st ructure of the populations concerned (structure in this sense signifies the spatial distribution of the biomass, but also the taxonomic composition of the populations). Remote sensing enables this difficulty to be overcome. Microphytobenthic populations c an be mapped from images calibrated by radiometric measurements in the field in association with pigment analyses (characterisation and quantification) of the sediment surface by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The main objective of this pro ject is to determine the spatial distribution, biomass and composition of microphytobenthos assemblages in two macrotidal ecosystems of the European Atlantic coast: Bourgneuf Bay (south of the Loire estuary, France) and the Tagus estuary (Portugal). These data will be used to assess the importance of these primary producers for the carrying capacity of the ecosystems. This objective will require thorough knowledge of pigment analyses in marine sediments by HPLC, expertise possessed by the Oceanographic Inst itute in Lisbon, and a knowledge of signal processing and image analysis, expertise possessed by the Marine Biology Laboratory in Nantes.

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-MOBILITY-3
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Funding Scheme

TOK - Marie Curie actions-Transfer of Knowledge

Coordinator

UNIVERSITE DE NANTES - UN
Address
Quai De Tourville 1
Nantes
France

Participants (1)

FACULDADE DE CIENCIAS DA UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA
Portugal
Address
Campo Grande C7
1749016 Lisboa