Drs Marie-Fanny Racault and Dionysios Raitsos have won first prize for their web-based lesson on phytoplankton seasonality using satellite ocean-colour in the Red Sea, developed as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Learn Earth Observation writing competition.
The lesson uses ESA Climate Change Initiative ocean-colour observations to quantify phytoplankton seasonality and provide relevant metrics to help us understand the functioning of coral reef ecosystems. The regional setting for the lesson was particularly important as the Red Sea hosts some of the most pristine coral reefs which have adapted to live in one of the warmest and most saline seas in the world. These unique conditions make it an excellent laboratory for studying the effects of environmental warming on marine organisms.
Dr Racault commented: “Working with students and researchers from developing countries and discussing with members of the public, I realized that there is a great demand and enthusiasm to study phytoplankton and to understand why it is relevant for the society. I decided to prepare the lesson because I really wanted to make satellite ocean-colour science accessible to them.”