Dionysios E. Raitsos

Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (43)129.44 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The Red Sea is a semi-enclosed tropical marine ecosystem that stretches from the Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba in the north, to the Gulf of Aden in the south. Despite its ecological and economic importance, its biological environment is relatively unexplored. Satellite ocean-colour estimates of chlorophyll concentration (an index of phytoplankton biomass) offer an observational platform to monitor the health of the Red Sea. However, little is known about the optical properties of the region. In this paper, we investigate the optical properties of the Red Sea in the context of satellite ocean-colour estimates of chlorophyll concentration. Making use of a new merged ocean-colour product, from the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative, and in situ data in the region, we test the performance of a series of ocean-colour chlorophyll algorithms. We find that standard algorithms systematically overestimate chlorophyll when compared with the in situ data. To investigate this bias we develop an ocean-colour model for the Red Sea, parameterised to data collected during the Tara Oceans expedition, that estimates remote-sensing reflectance as a function of chlorophyll concentration. We used the Red Sea model to tune the standard chlorophyll algorithms and the overestimation in chlorophyll originally observed was corrected. Results suggest that the overestimation was likely due to an excess of CDOM absorption per unit chlorophyll in the Red Sea when compared with average global conditions. However, we recognise that additional information is required to test the influence of other potential sources of the overestimation, such as aeolian dust, and we discuss uncertainties in the datasets used. We present a series of regional chlorophyll algorithms for the Red Sea, designed for a suite of ocean-colour sensors, that may be used for further testing.
    Remote Sensing of Environment 08/2015; 165. DOI:10.1016/j.rse.2015.04.024 · 6.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intensive sampling at the coastal waters of the central Red Sea during a period of thermal stratification, prior to the main seasonal bloom during winter, showed that vertical patches of prokaryotes and microplankton developed and persisted for several days within the apparently density uniform upper layer. These vertical structures were most likely the result of in situ growth and mortality (e.g., grazing) rather than physical or behavioural aggregation. Simulating a mixing event by adding nutrient-rich deep water abruptly triggered dense phytoplankton blooms in the nutrient-poor environment of the upper layer. These findings suggest that vertical structures within the mixed layer provide critical seeding stocks that can rapidly exploit nutrient influx during mixing, leading to winter bloom formation. The oceanic surface mixed layer (ML) is defined as a layer where turbulent mixing has homogenised the water, and is typically characterised by quasi-uniform density profiles and, presumably, even distribution of phytoplankton. However, the fact that a layer has been actively mixed in the recent past does not imply mixing is occurring at all times, and even if turbulent mixing is ongoing this does not necessarily mean phytoplankton are homogeneously distributed
    Scientific Reports 06/2015; %:11240. DOI:10.1038/srep11240 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phytoplankton are crucial to marine ecosystem functioning and are important indicators of environmental change. Phytoplankton data also are also essential for informing management and policy, particularly in supporting the new generation of marine legislative drivers, which take a holistic ecosystem approach to management. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) seeks to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of European seas through the implementation of such a management approach. This is a regional scale directive which recognises the importance of plankton communities in marine ecosystems; plankton data at the appropriate spatial, temporal and taxonomic scales are therefore required for implementation. The Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey is a multidecadal, North Atlantic–basin scale programme which routinely records approximately 300 phytoplankton taxa. Because of these attributes, the survey plays a key role in the implementation of the MSFD and the assessment of GES in the Northeast Atlantic region. This paper addresses the role of the CPR's phytoplankton time-series in delivering GES through the development and informing of MSFD indicators, the setting of targets against a background of climate change and the provision of supporting information used to interpret change in non-plankton indicators. We also discuss CPR data in the context of other phytoplankton data types that may contribute to GES as well as explore future possibilities for the use of new and innovative applications of CPR phytoplankton datasets in delivering GES. Efforts must be made to preserve long-term time series, such as the CPR, which supply vital ecological information used to informed evidence-based environmental policy.
    Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 05/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ecss.2015.05.010 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is ongoing debate as to whether the oligotrophic ocean is predominantly net autotrophic and acts as a CO2 sink, or net heterotrophic and therefore acts as a CO2 source to the atmosphere. This quantification is challenging, both spatially and temporally, due to the sparseness of measurements. There has been a concerted effort to derive accurate estimates of phytoplankton photosynthesis and primary production from satellite data to fill these gaps; however there have been few satellite estimates of net community production (NCP). In this paper, we compare a number of empirical approaches to estimate NCP from satellite data with in vitro measurements of changes in dissolved O2 concentration at 295 stations in the N and S Atlantic Ocean (including the Antarctic), Greenland and Mediterranean Seas. Algorithms based on power laws between NCP and particulate organic carbon production (POC) derived from 14C uptake tend to overestimate NCP at negative values and underestimate at positive values. An algorithm that includes sea surface temperature (SST) in the power function of NCP and 14C POC has the lowest bias and root-mean square error compared with in vitro measured NCP and is the most accurate algorithm for the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly a 13 year time series of NCP was generated using this algorithm with SeaWiFS data to assess changes over time in different regions and in relation to climate variability. The North Atlantic subtropical and tropical Gyres (NATL) were predominantly net autotrophic from 1998 to 2010 except for boreal autumn/winter, suggesting that the northern hemisphere has remained a net sink for CO2 during this period. The South Atlantic sub-tropical Gyre (SATL) fluctuated from being net autotrophic in austral spring-summer, to net heterotrophic in austral autumn–winter. Recent decadal trends suggest that the SATL is becoming more of a CO2 source. Over the Atlantic basin, the percentage of satellite pixels with negative NCP was 27%, with the largest contributions from the NATL and SATL during boreal and austral autumn–winter, respectively. Variations in NCP in the northern and southern hemispheres were correlated with climate indices. Negative correlations between NCP and the multivariate ENSO index (MEI) occurred in the SATL, which explained up to 60% of the variability in NCP. Similarly there was a negative correlation between NCP and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in the Southern Sub-Tropical Convergence Zone (SSTC), which explained 90% of the variability. There were also positive correlations with NAO in the Canary Current Coastal Upwelling (CNRY) and Western Tropical Atlantic (WTRA) which explained 80% and 60% of the variability in each province, respectively. MEI and NAO seem to play a role in modifying phases of net autotrophy and heterotrophy in the Atlantic Ocean.
    Remote Sensing of Environment 03/2015; Accepted(164):254-269. DOI:10.1016/j.rse.2015.03.017 · 6.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The impacts of various climate modes on the Red Sea surface heat exchange are investigated using the MERRA reanalysis and the OAFlux satellite reanalysis datasets. Seasonality in the atmospheric forcing is also explored. Mode impacts peak during boreal winter [December–February (DJF)] with average anomalies of 12–18 W m−2 to be found in the northern Red Sea. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the east Atlantic–west Russia (EAWR) pattern, and the Indian monsoon index (IMI) exhibit the strongest influence on the air–sea heat exchange during the winter. In this season, the largest negative anomalies of about −30 W m−2 are associated with the EAWR pattern over the central part of the Red Sea. In other seasons, mode-related anomalies are considerably lower, especially during spring when the mode impacts are negligible. The mode impacts are strongest over the northern half of the Red Sea during winter and autumn. In summer, the southern half of the basin is strongly influenced by the multivariate ENSO index (MEI). The winter mode–related anomalies are determined mostly by the latent heat flux component, while in summer the shortwave flux is also important. The influence of the modes on the Red Sea is found to be generally weaker than on the neighboring Mediterranean basin.
    Journal of Climate 03/2015; 28:2665–2681. · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phytoplankton, at the base of the marine food web, represent a fundamental food source in coral reef ecosystems. The timing (phenology) and magnitude of the phytoplankton biomass are major determinants of trophic interactions. The Red Sea is one of the warmest and most saline basins in the world, characterized by an arid tropical climate regulated by the monsoon. These extreme conditions are particularly challenging for marine life. Phytoplankton phenological indices provide objective and quantitative metrics to characterize phytoplankton seasonality. The indices i.e. timings of initiation, peak, termination and duration are estimated here using 15 years (1997–2012) of remote sensing ocean-color data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative project (OC-CCI) in the entire Red Sea basin. The OC-CCI product, comprising merged and bias-corrected observations from three independent ocean-color sensors (SeaWiFS, MODIS and MERIS), and processed using the POLYMER algorithm (MERIS period), shows a significant increase in chlorophyll data coverage, especially in the southern Red Sea during the months of summer NW monsoon. In open and reef-bound coastal waters, the performance of OC-CCI chlorophyll data is shown to be comparable with the performance of other standard chlorophyll products for the global oceans. These features have permitted us to investigate phytoplankton phenology in the entire Red Sea basin, and during both winter SE monsoon and summer NW monsoon periods. The phenological indices are estimated in the four open water provinces of the basin, and further examined at six coral reef complexes of particular socio-economic importance in the Red Sea, including Siyal Islands, Sharm El Sheikh, Al Wajh bank, Thuwal reefs, Al Lith reefs and Farasan Islands. Most of the open and deeper waters of the basin show an apparent higher chlorophyll concentration and longer duration of phytoplankton growth during the winter period (relative to the summer phytoplankton growth period). In contrast, most of the reef-bound coastal waters display equal or higher peak chlorophyll concentrations and equal or longer duration of phytoplankton growth during the summer period (relative to the winter phytoplankton growth period). The ecological and biological significance of the phytoplankton seasonal characteristics are discussed in context of ecosystem state assessment, and particularly to support further understanding of the structure and functioning of coral reef ecosystems in the Red Sea.
    Remote Sensing of Environment 02/2015; 69. DOI:10.1016/j.rse.2015.01.019 · 6.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tropical ocean ecosystems are predicted to become warmer, more saline, and less fertile in a future Earth. The Red Sea, one of the warmest and most saline environments in the world, may afford insights into the function of the tropical ocean ecosystem in a changing planet. We show that the concentration of chlorophyll and the duration of the phytoplankton growing season in the Red Sea are controlled by the strength of the winter Arabian monsoon (through horizontal advection of fertile waters from the Indian Ocean). Furthermore, and contrary to expectation, in the last decade (1998–2010) the winter Red Sea phytoplankton biomass has increased by 75% during prolonged positive phases of the Multivariate El Niño–Southern Oscillation Index. A new mechanism is reported, revealing the synergy of monsoon and climate in regulating Red Sea greenness.
    Geophysical Research Letters 02/2015; 42(3):855–862. · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tropical ocean ecosystems are predicted to become warmer, more saline and less fertile in a future Earth. The Red Sea, one of the warmest and most saline environments in the world, may afford insights into the function of the tropical ocean ecosystem in a changing planet. We show that the concentration of chlorophyll and the duration of the phytoplankton growing season in the Red Sea are controlled by the strength of the winter Arabian monsoon (through horizontal advection of fertile waters from the Indian Ocean). Furthermore, and contrary to expectation, in the last decade (1998-2010) the winter Red Sea phytoplankton biomass has increased by 75% during prolonged positive phases of the Multivariate ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation) Index. A new mechanism is reported, revealing the synergy of monsoon and climate in regulating Red Sea greenness.
    02/2015; 42(3). DOI:10.1002/2014GL062882
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    ABSTRACT: The impacts of various climate modes on the Red Sea surface heat exchange are investigated using the MERRA reanalysis and the OAFlux satellite-reanalysis datasets. Seasonality in the atmospheric forcing is also explored. Mode impacts peak during boreal winter (DJF) with average anomalies of 12-18 W/m2 to be found in the northern Red Sea. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the East Atlantic - West Russia (EAWR) pattern, and the Indian Monsoon Index (IMI) exhibit the strongest influence on the air-sea heat exchange during the winter. In this season, the largest negative anomalies of about -30 W/m2 are associated with the EAWR pattern over the central part of the Red Sea. In other seasons, mode-related anomalies are considerably lower, especially during spring when the mode impacts are negligible. The mode impacts are strongest over the northern half of the Red Sea during winter and autumn. In summer, the southern half of the basin is strongly influenced by the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). The winter mode-related anomalies are determined mostly by the latent heat flux component, while in summer the shortwave flux is also important. The influence of the modes on the Red Sea is found to be generally weaker than on the neighboring Mediterranean basin.
    Journal of Climate 01/2015; in press(7). DOI:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00379.1 · 4.90 Impact Factor
  • Challenger Society for Marine Science Conference 2014, Plymouth, Devon; 09/2014
  • EGU General Assembly 2014, Vienna, Austria; 05/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Changes in phytoplankton dynamics influence marine biogeochemical cycles, climate processes, and food webs, with substantial social and economic consequences. Large-scale estimation of phytoplankton biomass was possible via ocean colour measurements from two remote sensing satellites – the Coastal Zone Colour Scanner (CZCS, 1979–1986) and the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS, 1998–2010). Due to the large gap between the two satellite eras and differences in sensor characteristics, comparison of the absolute values retrieved from the two instruments remains challenging. Using a unique in situ ocean colour dataset that spans more than half a century, the two satellite-derived chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) eras are linked to assess concurrent changes in phytoplankton variability and bloom timing over the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and North Sea. Results from this unique re-analysis reflect a clear increasing pattern of Chl-a, a merging of the two seasonal phytoplankton blooms producing a longer growing season and higher seasonal biomass, since the mid-1980s. The broader climate plays a key role in Chl-a variability as the ocean colour anomalies parallel the oscillations of the Northern Hemisphere Temperature (NHT) since 1948.
    Global Change Biology 04/2014; 20(7). DOI:10.1111/gcb.12457 · 8.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Red Sea exhibits complex hydrodynamic and biogeochemical dynamics, which vary both in time and space. These dynamics have been explored through the development and application of a 3-D ecosystem model. The simulation system comprises two off-line coupled submodels: the MIT General Circulation Model (MITgcm) and the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM), both adapted for the Red Sea. The results from an annual simulation under climatological forcing are presented. Simulation results are in good agreement with satellite and in situ data illustrating the role of the physical processes in determining the evolution and variability of the Red Sea ecosystem. The model was able to reproduce the main features of the Red Sea ecosystem functioning, including the exchange with the Gulf of Aden, which is a major driving mechanism for the whole Red Sea ecosystem and the winter overturning taking place in the north. Some model limitations, mainly related to the dynamics of the extended reef system located in the southern part of the Red Sea, which is not currently represented in the model, still need to be addressed.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 03/2014; 119(3). DOI:10.1002/2013JC009641 · 3.44 Impact Factor
  • Ocean Meeting 2014, Hawai, USA; 02/2014
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    Phytoplankton Functional Types from Space, 1 edited by Shubha Sathyendranath, 01/2014: chapter 5: pages 101-124; IOCCG., ISBN: 1098-6030
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    ABSTRACT: Using the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Mediterranean capture fisheries production dataset in conjunction with global and Mediterranean sea surface temperatures, we investigated trends in fisheries landings and landings per unit of effort of commercially important marine organisms, in relation to temperature oscillations. In addition to the overall warming trend, a temperature shift was detected in the Mediterranean Sea in the late 1990s. Fisheries landings fluctuations were examined for the most abundant commercial species (59 species) and showed significant year-to-year correlations with temperature for nearly 60 % of the cases. From these, the majority (~70 %) were negatively related and showed a reduction of 44 % on average. Increasing trends were found, mainly in the landings of species with short life spans, which seem to have benefited from the increase in water temperature. Τhe effect of oceanic warming is apparent in most species or groups of species sharing ecological (e.g. small and medium pelagic, demersal fish) or taxonomic (e.g. cephalopods, crustaceans) traits. A landings-per-unit-of-effort (LPUE) proxy, using data from the seven Mediterranean European Union member states, also showed significant correlation with temperature fluctuations for six out of the eight species examined, indicating the persistence of temperature influence on landings when the fishing effect is accounted for. The speed of response of marine landings to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea possibly shows both the sensitivity and the vulnerable state of the fish stocks and indicates that climate should be examined together with fisheries as a factor shaping stock fluctuations.
    Climatic Change 01/2014; 122(1-2). DOI:10.1007/s10584-013-0972-4 · 4.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Red Sea is a unique marine environment but relatively unexplored. The only available long-term biological dataset at large spatial and temporal scales is remotely-sensed chlorophyll observations (an index of phytoplankton biomass) derived using satellite measurements of ocean colour. Yet such observations have rarely been compared with in situ data in the Red Sea. In this paper, satellite chlorophyll estimates in the Red Sea from the MODIS instrument onboard the Aqua satellite are compared with three recent cruises of in vivo fluorometric chlorophyll measurements taken in October 2008, March 2010 and September to October 2011. The performance of the standard NASA chlorophyll algorithm, and that of a new band-difference algorithm, is found to be comparable with other oligotrophic regions in the global ocean, supporting the use of satellite ocean colour in the Red Sea. However, given the unique environmental conditions of the study area, regional algorithms are likely to fare better and this is demonstrated through a simple adjustment to the band-difference algorithm.
    Remote Sensing of Environment 09/2013; 136:218–224. DOI:10.1016/j.rse.2013.04.018 · 6.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Red Sea holds one of the most diverse marine ecosystems, primarily due to coral reefs. However, knowledge on large-scale phytoplankton dynamics is limited. Analysis of a 10-year high resolution Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) dataset, along with remotely-sensed sea surface temperature and wind, provided a detailed description of the spatiotemporal seasonal succession of phytoplankton biomass in the Red Sea. Based on MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data, four distinct Red Sea provinces and seasons are suggested, covering the major patterns of surface phytoplankton production. The Red Sea Chl-a depicts a distinct seasonality with maximum concentrations seen during the winter time (attributed to vertical mixing in the north and wind-induced horizontal intrusion of nutrient-rich water in the south), and minimum concentrations during the summer (associated with strong seasonal stratification). The initiation of the seasonal succession occurs in autumn and lasts until early spring. However, weekly Chl-a seasonal succession data revealed that during the month of June, consistent anti-cyclonic eddies transfer nutrients and/or Chl-a to the open waters of the central Red Sea. This phenomenon occurs during the stratified nutrient depleted season, and thus could provide an important source of nutrients to the open waters. Remotely-sensed synoptic observations highlight that Chl-a does not increase regularly from north to south as previously thought. The Northern part of the Central Red Sea province appears to be the most oligotrophic area (opposed to southern and northern domains). This is likely due to the absence of strong mixing, which is apparent at the northern end of the Red Sea, and low nutrient intrusion in comparison with the southern end. Although the Red Sea is considered an oligotrophic sea, sporadic blooms occur that reach mesotrophic levels. The water temperature and the prevailing winds control the nutrient concentrations within the euphotic zone and enable the horizontal transportation of nutrients.
    PLoS ONE 06/2013; 8(6):e64909. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064909 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 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 PCIs 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.
    Journal of Plankton Research 12/2012; 35(1):158-164. DOI:10.1093/plankt/fbs079 · 2.26 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

386 Citations
129.44 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013–2015
    • Plymouth Marine Laboratory
      • Remote Sensing Group
      Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
    • King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
      • Department of Earth Science and Engineering (ErSE)
      Djidda, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
  • 2009–2012
    • Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
      • Institute of Oceanography
      Ανάβυσσος, Attica, Greece
  • 2008–2012
    • University of Plymouth
      • Marine Institute
      Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
  • 2011
    • Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science
      Plymouth, England, United Kingdom