Prof. Michael Behrenfeld

Michael Behrenfeld did his undergraduate studies in Biology at Eastern Washington University. He then completed a Master’s degree in Biochemistry, Statistics, and Environmental Studies and a Ph.D in Bio-optical Oceanography, both at Oregon State University. He then took a post-doctoral position with Dr. Paul Falkowski at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and simultaneously taught as an Adjunct Professor at Long Island University, Southampton NY. From there, he worked briefly as an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey before taking a civil servant position at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. In 2005, he moved back to his native Pacific Northwest as a Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University, where he remains today. Dr. Behrenfeld’s scientific interests range from subcellular processes to global scale phenomena. His recent work has focused on the photophysiological signatures of iron stress in phytoplankton, alternative pathways and fates of photosynthate, global expressions of photoacclimation in phytoplankton, phytoplankton blooms, and the use of active lidar sensors for studying plankton ecology.

Paula Bontempi

Paula Bontempi has been a biological oceanographer for 25 years. She began her career as a research intern at the New England Aquarium as an undergraduate at Boston College, later entering the fields of phytoplankton taxonomy and physiology in the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University. Research on phytoplankton taxa and coupled physical and biological drivers of global and regional phytoplankton spatial patterns led to interests in marine bio-optics and ocean color remote sensing (mostly because she was certain ocean color remote sensing didn’t work). She graduated from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in 2001 with a Ph.D., spending time during her studies as a research fellow at the SACLANT Lab in La Spezia, Italy, taking the famous Friday Harbor Optical Oceanography course, and as a summer intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She moved from the faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Marine Science to NASA Headquarters in 2003. She is currently the program manager for Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry at NASA Headquarters, as well as the Lead for NASA’s Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Focus Area and the agency’s Carbon Cycle Science research. She is Program Scientist for MODIS-Terra and Aqua, Suomi NPP, PACE, NAAMES (EV-S), HICO, CORAL (EV-S), and the former SeaWiFS mission. She has been honored to be invited to teach the Earth Science module of NASA’s astronaut training class every three years. Her favorite job is being a mother, ice skating, roller skating, and skateboarding with her son (and is thankful that the 10-year olds at the skate parks take pity on her). She is glad to put some organic chemistry to use frequently building exploding volcanoes in her kitchen with her son.


Paul DiGiacomo

Dr. Paul M. DiGiacomo is Chief of the Satellite Oceanography and Climatology Division in the NOAA/NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR). He also serves as the NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch Program Manager, and is Manager of the Marine Optical BuoY (MOBY) Project. Prior to joining NOAA in 2006, Paul served as Supervisor of the Earth Missions Concepts Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, as well as the Discipline Program Manager of the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Program Office at JPL. Paul is a biological oceanographer specializing in remote sensing of coastal regions, particularly for water quality applications. He has a B.S. from Penn State University and a Ph.D. from UCLA, both in Biology, and subsequently was a National Research Council (NRC) Resident Research Associate at JPL. Paul is active in a number of inter/national ocean observing, research and application working groups. He serves as Co-Chair of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Blue Planet Initiative and likewise the GEO AquaWatch Water Quality Initiative. Paul also serves as Co-Chair of the Ocean Colour Radiometry-Virtual Constellation for the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, as NOAA Representative to the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG), as lead for NOAA’s JPSS Ocean Environmental Data Records Team, and is a member of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-3 Validation Team.


Dr. Ana Dogliotti

Ana Dogliotti is head of the Marine Division of the Quantitative Remote Sensing Group at the Institute of Astronomy and Space Physics (IAFE) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Buenos Aires in 2007, where she used satellite ocean color data to study phytoplankton ecology and distribution in the Argentinean Sea. After getting her PhD she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Río Grande Federal University (FURG) in Brazil in 2008 and at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science (RBINS) in Belgium in 2011 where she specialized in optically complex turbid waters. Since 2012 she is researcher at the National Research Council for Sciences (CONICET) in Argentina and is currently the coordinator of the ANTARES Network, an integrated Latin American network that focuses in the study of long-term changes in coastal ecosystems sites using in situ and remote sing data. Her research interests are developing algorithms and applications using ocean color technologies for water quality monitoring and assessment in lakes, estuaries, and oceans. She carries on activities like satellite products validation (using field-based optical instruments and satellite remote sensing data), evaluation of atmospheric correction algorithms and development of bio-optical algorithms to evaluate and improve satellite-derived products in the Argentine Sea and particularly in the optically complex turbid waters of Río de la Plata in Argentina. She is actively involved in ocean color satellite missions like Sentinel-3 as a member of the S3 Validation Team and is also part of the Scientific Team of the future Argentine-Brazilian Ocean Color Satellite Mission SABIA/MAR.


Prof. Ronghua Ma

Ronghua Ma is the co-head of the Lake Environment Remote Sensing group at the Division of Geographic Information Science (DGIS) and the Lake and Watershed Data Center (LWDC), Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has lead a number of important national and international projects on the use of satellite data to monitor lake environment change, with a particular focus on developing new approaches to identifying phytoplankton concentrations, optical conditions and trophic status. These were developed for aquatic ecosystems with complex aquatic and atmospheric conditions and have been used by both researchers and regulatory agencies. He has developed a number of widely used algorithms for the detection of cyanobacteria blooms and optical depths. He designed and manages the in-situ experimental platform for Lake Taihu, obtaining continuous above/under-water surface measurements, as well as an indoor experimental platform to observe dynamics in the vertical distribution of phytoplankton and particulate matter under different conditions. His research and development activities has resulted hundreds of peer-reviewed cooperative papers/books in English/Chinese, and tens of patents. These developments have been used in a Provincial early warning scheme for algal bloom monitoring by remote sensing of Lake Taihu, Lake Chaohu, Lake Hongze, major water resources in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Prof. Ma earned major awards by the Jiangsu Provincial Government in 2008 and in 2012 and by Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2015 for his pioneering work on the lake cyanobacterial bloom monitoring.


Dr. Heidi Sosik

Dr. Heidi Sosik is a biological oceanographer and phytoplankton ecologist. She holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. She is currently a Senior Scientist in the Biology Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Dr. Sosik’s honors include a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 1996 and WHOI’s Senior Scientist Leadership Prize in 2013. She currently serves as Director of the Center for Ocean, Marine, and Seafloor Observing Systems (COSMOS) and Chief Scientist of the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO). Sosik is active in many national and international roles including Associate Editor for leading journals and service on strategic planning and scientific steering committees.

Dr. Sosik’s research spans phytoplankton ecology and physiology, optical oceanography and ocean remote sensing, modeling, and instrument development. In recent years, she and co-workers have developed automated underwater cell analyzers that dramatically enhance our ability to study microscopic organisms that fuel ocean food chains and sometimes produce harmful algal blooms. Now in commercial production, “Imaging FlowCytobot” is a robotic underwater microscope that counts photosynthetic single-cells in the water and photographs them. The images and associated data are analyzed with customized software to automatically classify the plankton into taxonomic groups.

Dr. Kevin Ruddick

Kevin started his studies with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics, moving through Masters in Computational Fluid Dynamics and in Marine Modelling ,to a PhD in Physical Oceanography and Hydrodynamic Modelling. The turning point occurred in 1996 when NASA was preparing to launch SeaWiFS and make the data freely available. Kevin was lucky to get a small project to start in Ocean Colour Remote Sensing. He learned about atmospheric correction by reading papers and the SeaDAS processing source code, and contributed to improving the SeaDAS/SeaWiFS atmospheric correction over turbid waters. Since then he has followed with amazement the incredible progress in both satellite hardware and data processing algorithms, specialising in satellite data algorithms, validation and exploitation for turbid waters. His team now works with a wide range of optical missions, validating and exploiting the mainstream polar-orbiting ocean colour missions, but also extracting information on water constituents from other missions, including geostationary meteorological satellites and high resolution land remote sensing missions.