The phytoplankton colour index (PCI) of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey is an in situ measure of ocean colour, which is considered a proxy of the phytoplankton biomass. PCI has been extensively used to describe the major spatiotemporal patterns of phytoplankton in the North Atlantic Ocean and North Sea since 1931. Regardless of its wide application, the lack of an adequate evaluation to test the PCI's quantitative nature is an important limitation. To address this concern, a field trial over the main production season has been undertaken to assess the numerical values assigned by previous investigations for each category of the greenness of the PCI. CPRs were towed across the English Channel from Roscoff to Plymouth consecutively for each of 8 months producing 76 standard CPR samples, each representing 10 nautical miles of tow. The results of this experiment test and update the PCI methodology, and confirm the validity of this long-term in situ ocean colour data set. In addition, using a 60-year time series of the PCI of the western English Channel, a comparison is made between the previous and the current revised experimental calculations of PCI. © 2012 The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science