Decadal change in phytoplankton community ecology through remote sensing (DECIPHER)

PML contact: Dr Robert Brewin

Funder: European Space Agency (ESA)

Start date: March 2013
End date: March 2015

View the project website


This project analysed relationships between phytoplankton groups in the ocean over a ten year period, to investigate how these groups are likely to respond to future physical changes in the ocean. To do this, DECIPHER developed a new satellite algorithm, designed to retrieve the chlorophyll concentration of three key phytoplankton groups found in the surface ocean waters.

The DECIPHER project helped to aid general understanding of the potential impacts of future environmental change upon food webs and biological and chemical processes, which provide valuable goods and services to society, such as food, energy and minerals.

Through the creation of the new satellite algorithm, physical data derived from the satellite, such as sea-surface temperature, was compared with time-series analysis and used to decompose seasonal and inter-annual variations in the phytoplankton groups over a ten year period.