People > Dr Robert Brewin

Dr Robert Brewin

Remote Sensing Scientist

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Dr Bob Brewin is a Marine Remote Sensing scientist based at PML. He joined PML in 2010 having completed a PhD at the University of Plymouth on detecting phytoplankton size structure using satellite data.

At PML he has been working for the National Centre for Earth Observation and on the European Space Agency Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative. His research interests include the detection of phytoplankton size structure from satellite data, bio-opical model development and validation, and unravelling the interaction between phytoplankton and physical forcing at large temporal and spatial scales using satellite observations. He is currently working on a European Space Agency post-doctoral fellowship investigating interaction between phytoplankton community structure and physical forcing.




SOLSTICE-WIO: Sustainable Oceans, Livelihoods and food Security Through Increased Capacity in Ecosystem research in the Western Indian Ocean

Contact: Dr Dionysios Raitsos

SOLSTICE – WIO is a four year collaborative GCRF project that aims to strengthen capacity in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region to address...

Ocean color and biogeochemistry

Ocean color and biogeochemistry (CBIOMES)

Contact: Dr Shubha Sathyendranath

Earth observation of ocean color remains our only window into the pelagic ecosystem at synoptic scales. It is a rich source of data, and...

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Other key projects

Decadal change in phytoplankton community ecology (DECIPHER)

ESA Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative

NERC National Centre for Earth Observation 

Recent publications

  • Dall’Olmo, G; Brewin, RJW; Nencioli, F; Organelli, E; Lefering, I; McKee, D; Röttgers, R; Mitchell, C; Boss, E; Bricaud, A; Tilstone, GH. 2017 Determination of the absorption coefficient of chromophoric dissolved organic matter from underway spectrophotometry. Optics Express, 25 (24). A1079. 10.1364/OE.25.0A1079
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  • Evers-King, H ; Martinez-Vicente, V; Brewin, RJW; Dall'Olmo, GD; Hickman, AE; Jackson, T; Kostadinov, TS; Krasemann, H; Loisel, H; Röttgers, R; Roy, S; Stramski, D; Thomalla, S; Platt, T; Sathyendranath, S. 2017 Validation and Intercomparison of Ocean Color Algorithms for Estimating Particulate Organic Carbon in the Oceans. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4. 10.3389/fmars.2017.00251
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  • Raitsos, DE; Brewin, RJW; Zhan, P; Dreano, D; Pradhan, Y; Nanninga, GB; Hoteit, I. 2017 Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space. Scientific Reports, 7. 10.1038/s41598-017-08729-w
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  • Brewin, RJW; Ciavatta, S; Sathyendranath, S; Jackson, T; Tilstone, GH; Curran, K; Airs, RL; Cummings, DG; Brotas, V; Organelli, E; Dall'Olmo, GD; Raitsos, DE. 2017 Uncertainty in ocean-colour estimates of chlorophyll for phytoplankton groups. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4 (104). 10.3389/fmars.2017.00104
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  • Brewin, RJW; de Mora, L; Billson, O; Jackson, T; Russell, P; Brewin, TG; Shutler, J; Miller, PI; Taylor, BH; Smyth, TJ; Fishwick, J. 2017 Evaluating operational AVHRR sea surface temperature data at the coastline using surfers. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 196. 276-289.
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  • Losa, SN; Soppa, MA; Dinter, T; Wolanin, A; Brewin, RJW; Bricaud, A; Oelker, J; Rozanov, V; Peeken, L; Bracher, A. 2017 Synergistic exploitation of hyper- and multispectral Sentinel measurements to determine Phytoplankton Functional Types at best spatial and temporal resolution (SynSenPFT). Frontiers in Marine Science, 4 (203). 10.3389/fmars.2017.00203
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Selected key publications

Holt, J., Allen, J. I., Anderson, T. R., Brewin, R.J.W., Butenschön, M., Harle, J., Huse, G., Lindemann, C., Memery, L., Salihoglu, B., Senina, I., & Yool, A. (2014) Challenges in integrative approaches to modelling the marine ecosystems of the North Atlantic: Physics to fish and coasts to ocean, Progress in Oceanography, In press, doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.024

Brewin, R.J.W., Sathyendranath, S., Tilstone, G., Lange, P.K. and Platt. T. (2014) A multicomponent model of phytoplankton size structure, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 119, doi:10.1002/2014JC009859

Racault, M-F., Platt, T., Sathyendranath, S., Agirbas, E., Martinez, V., Brewin, R.J.W. (2014) Plankton indicators and ocean observing systems: support to the marine ecosystem state assessment. Journal of Plankton Research, In Press: dio.10.1093/plankt/fbu016

Tilstone, G., Miller, P., Brewin, R.J.W., & Priede, G. (2014) Enhancement of primary production in the North Atlantic outside of the spring bloom identified by remote sensing of ocean colour and temperature. Remote Sensing of Environment. 146, 77-86 doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.04.021

Brewin, R.J.W., Sathyendranath, S., Lange, P.K., Tilstone, G. (2014) Comparison of two methods to derive the size-structure of natural populations of phytoplankton. Deep-Sea Research Part I 85, 72-79 doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2013.11.007

McKinnon, D.A., Williams, A., Young, J., Ceccarelli, D., Dunstan, P., Brewin, R.J.W., Watson, R., Brinkman, R., Cappo, M., Duggan, S., Kelley, R., Ridgway, K., Lindsay, D., Gledhill, D., Hutton, T., & Richardson, A.J. (2014) Tropical Marginal Seas: Priority Regions for Managing Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function. Annual Review of Marine Science 6, 415-437 doi:10.1146/annurev-marine-010213-135042

Brewin, R.J.W., Sathyendranath, S., Müller, D., Brockmann, C., Deschamps, P-Y., Devred, E., Doerffer, R., Fomferra, N., Franz, B., Grant, M., Groom, S., Horseman, A., Hu, C., Krasemann, H., Lee, Z., Maritorena, S., Mélin, F., Peters, M., Platt, T., Regner, R., Smyth, T., Steinmetz, F., Swinton, J., Werdell, J. & White, G.N. (2013) The Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative: III. A round-robin comparison on in-water bio-optical algorithms. Remote Sensing of Environment, In press doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.09.016

Brewin, R.J.W., Raitsos, D. E., Pradhan, Y. & Holt, I. (2013) Comparison of chlorophyll in the Red Sea derived from MODIS and in situ data. Remote Sensing of Environment. 136, 218–224, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.04.018

Lee, Z., Hu, C., Shang, S., Du, K., Lewis, M., Arone, R. & Brewin, R.J.W. (2013) Penetration of UV-Visible solar light in the global oceans: insights from ocean colour remote sensing. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 118, 1-15, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20308

Raitsos, D. E., Pradhan, Y, Brewin, R.J.W., Stenchikov, G. & Holt, I. (2013) Remote sensing the phytoplankton seasonal succession of the Red Sea. PLoS ONE 8(6): e64909. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064909

Palacz, A. P., St. John, M. A., Brewin, R.J.W., Hirata, T. & Gregg, W. W. (2013) Distribution of phytoplankton functional types in high-nitrate low-chlorophyll waters in a new diagnostic ecological indicator model. Biogeosciences, 10, 7553–7574 doi:10.5194/bg-10-7553-2013.

Hardman-Mountford, N.J., Polimene, L., Hirata, T., Brewin, R.J.W. & Aiken, J. (2013) Impacts of light shading and nutrient enrichment geo-engineering approaches on the productivity of a stratified, oligotrophic ocean ecosystem. J R Soc Interface 10: 20130701. doi:10. 1098/rsif.2013.0701

Brotas, V., Brewin, R.J.W., Sá, C., Brito, A.C., Silva, A., Mendes, C.R., Diniz, T., Kaufmann, M., Tarran, G., Groom, S.B., Platt, T., & Sathyendranath, S. (2013) Deriving phytoplankton size classes from satellite data: Validation along a trophic gradient in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Remote Sensing of Environment, 134, 66-77, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2013.02.013

Brewin, R.J.W., Dall'Olmo G., Sathyendranath S. & Hardman-Mountford N.J. (2012). Particle backscattering as a function of chlorophyll and phytoplankton size structure in the open-ocean. Optics Express, 20, 17632-17652. doi: 10.1364/OE.20.017632

Brewin, R.J.W., Hirata T., Hardman-Mountford N.J., Lavender S. J., Sathyendranath S. & Barlow R. (2012). The influence of the Indian Ocean Dipole on interannual variations in phytoplankton size structure as revealed by Earth Observation. Deep Sea Research II, 77-80, 117-127. doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2012.04.009

Brewin, R.J.W., Devred, E., Sathyendranath, S., Lavender, S.J. & Hardman-Mountford, N.J. (2011) Model of phytoplankton absorption based on three size classes. Applied Optics, 50(22), 4353-4364. doi: 10.1364/AO.50.004535

Hirata, T., Hardman-Mountford, N.J., Brewin, R.J.W., Aiken, J., Barlow, R., Suzuki, K., Isada, T., Howell, E., Hashioka, T., Noguchi-Aita, M. & Yamanaka, Y. (2011) Synoptic relationships between surface Chlorophyll-a and diagnostic pigments specific to phytoplankton functional types, Biogeosciences, 8, 311-327, doi: 10.5194/bg-8-311-2011

Brewin, R.J.W., Hardman-Mountford, N.J., Lavender, S.J., Raitsos, D.E., Hirata, T., Uitz, J., Devred, E., Bricaud, A., Ciotti, A. & Gentili, B. (2011). An intercomparison of bio-optical techniques for detecting phytoplankton size class from satellite remote sensing. Remote Sensing of Environment, 115(2), 325-339. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2010.09.004

Brewin, R.J.W., Sathyendranath, S., Hirata, T., Lavender, S.J., Barciela, R. & Hardman-Mountford, N.J. (2010) A three-component model of phytoplankton size class from satellite remote sensing. Ecological Modelling, 221(11), 1472-1483. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2010.02.014

Hirata, T., Hardman-Mountford, N.J., Barlow, R., Lamont, T., Brewin, R.J.W., Smyth, T. and Aiken, J. (2009). An inherent optical property approach to the estimation of size-specific photosynthetic rates in eastern boundary upwelling zones from satellite ocean colour: An initial assessment. Progress in Oceanography, 83: 393-397. doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2009.07.019

Other activities

Chair of the UK Challenger Society and RSPSoc Society Marine Optics Special Interest Group.