More Marine Photography

As I relax, like a coastal village after the Vikings have left, following a mini-viva on the report mentioned here, I am going to attempt science journalism. My first truly awful attempt has received a handful of Google-hits, with publicity for its lead author Dr. Angus Jackson did not receive too great a savaging from that pasty-faced old anarachist, Francis Sedgemore, so here goes.

This concerns a paper just published by another staff member at the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, Miss Silvia Batchelli, a Spanish Catalan PhD student; in addition to her supervisor, Dr. Francois Muller, and others.

Yellow Matter Frothing at Mouth of Thurso River

Yellow Matter Frothing at Mouth of Thurso River

This paper, available publically only in abstract form, examined the ‘yellow matter’ being washed out from Thurso River estuary. Draining from Caithness flow country – one of the largest areas of blanket bog in the world – this has plenty of opportunity to be exposed to peaty material and contribute to the yellow matter which may shield water from solar radiation or provide nanotechnology-sized surfaces for inorganic materials to adhere to and enrich the nutrients of the water leading to algal blooms. Such metal content is Muller’s area of expertise, and Batchelli et al. investigated optical properties of yellow matter: which powers the original application of the photography which Jackson has researched and I investigated for my wee project (although Batchelli et al. used gimcrack spectrophotometers in the laboratory).

There are already known to be difficulties with aerial photography, and presumably the commercial digital cameras I used, distinguishing between chlorophyll and yellow matter as they absorb light at similar wavelengths. Although there was no marriage by Batchelli et al. of the optical properties of yellow matter with mine and Jackson’s investigations, Batchelli et al. recorded changes depending on particle size and mass rather than chemical properties.

As it happens, a recent arrival at the ERI is Dr. Lonneke Goddijn-Murphy who has used a commercial digital camera to assess yellow matter in water off Galway Bay, Ireland (abstract only). But that is another story. As always, further research will be advantageous.

Further reading: Batchelli et al. (2009) Size fractionation and optical properties of colloids in an organic-rich estuary (Thurso, UK) Marine Chemistry 113 227-37

Goddijn and White (2006) Using a digital camera for water quality measurements in Galway Bay East Coast Shelf Science 66 429-36

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6 Responses to “More Marine Photography”

  1. Pasty-faced arachnid Says:

    Jesus wept!

  2. efrafandays Says:

    I hate you, you Leathery-Skinned Bakunin Wannabe.

    Is there *anything* of merit?

  3. Pasty-faced arachnid Says:

    The term “blanket bog” in the third paragraph. Most evocative.

  4. efrafandays Says:

    But, you do agree it’s another interesting subject? Can I hope to get better, or should I give up now?

  5. Francis Sedgemore Says:

    It is an interesting subject, Alec. You are fortunate to be working in a very interesting area of geoscience, and I’m keen to hear more about your endeavours. But, as I’ve said before, it ain’t journalism, what you’re doing in this here weblodge. Also, I advise you to pay more attention to the narrative structure of these science outreach posts, and get someone to edit the writing before publication if you can’t spot the glaring errors yourself.

    Keep it coming!

  6. efrafandays Says:

    You may be a sadist, but you don’t have a heart of stone, Francis. All I can do is read your bon mots for stylistic pointers. As far as accuracy is concerned, I assume this and my previous misfiring were accurate as Angus and Francois didn’t point out anything (well, nothing which remains in the current version).

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