Most remote sensing algorithms for phytoplankton in inland waters aim at the retrieval of the pigment chlorophyll a (Chl a), as this pigment is a useful proxy for phytoplankton biomass. More recently, algorithms have been developed to quantify the pigment phycocyanin (PC), which is characteristic of cyanobacteria, a phytoplankton group of relative importance to inland water management due to their negative impact on water quality in response to eutrophication. We evaluated the accuracy of three published algorithms for the remote sensing of PC in inland waters, using an extensive database of field radiometric and pigment data obtained in the Netherlands and Spain in the period 2001–2005. The three algorithms (a baseline, single band ratio, and a nested band ratio approach) all target the PC absorption effect observed in reflectance spectra in the 620 nm region. We evaluated the sensitivity of the algorithms to errors in reflectance measurements and in All algorithms performed best in moderate to high PC concentrations (50–200 mg m− 3) and showed the most linear response to increasing PC in cyanobacteria-dominated waters. The highest errors showed at PC <50 mg m− 3. In eutrophic waters, the presence of other pigments explained a tendency to overestimate the PC concentration. In oligotrophic waters, negative PC predictions were observed. At very high concentrations (PC > 200 mg m− 3), PC underestimations by the baseline and single band ratio a
Original languageEnglish
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Journal publication date2008

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