Marine Sciences Rm 261

This presentation will review: (1) the biophysical basis for detection of coastal primary producers (phytoplankton, microbenthic algae, and emergent wetland vegetation), (2) optical sensor technologies (current and soon to be available), (3) predictive algorithms for producer biomass and/or pigments based on field surveys segued with close-range, airborne, and satellite scale observations, and (4) selected case studies of primary producer patterns in ecosystems I study on the Southeast Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States and the Western Caribbean. Georgia coastal wetlands and inshore and offshore waters will be the main focus, but synthesis results of a robust phytoplankton retrieval algorithm parameterized with ~ 800 coastal and offshore stations, including 46 estuaries, will be presented, along with geospatial analysis of salt marsh and mangrove habitats in West Florida, Mississippi, and the Coastal Bend of Texas. Differences in nutrient loading, tidal regimes, and climate largely explain the observed algal and wetland vegetation patterns.