Meet Jeremy Kravitz – PhD Student

Meet Jeremy Kravitz

Jeremy is a PhD student funded by the Water Research Commission and registered at the University of Cape Town…

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. As an undergraduate, I managed Cal Poly’s contribution to the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), monitoring Harmful Algal Blooms from our coastal marine science center.

“I am focusing on calibration/validation efforts for the Sentinel 3 ocean color satellite”

I was introduced to the world of bio-optics and remote sensing when I was invited to join a research trip the the Republic of Palau, where we used a variety of sophisticated ocean science technology to monitor and predict water flow based on benthic habitats. Since then, I have been accepted for a National Science Foundation research award to work under Dr. Eric Hochberg at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences using bio-optics to study coral reef light use efficiencies, worked for the The Nature Conservancy in the U.S. Virgin Islands helping monitor and restore coral reefs in the local marine parks, and worked as a research assistant in the Bio-Optical Oceanography and Remote Sensing Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico, helping to improve methods for retrieving water-column bio-optical information in coral reef environments and working on calibration/validation efforts for NOAA ocean color satellites.

Throughout my career in ocean science, I have also been involved with multiple long term oceanographic cruises and acted as a science educator and aquarium diver at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

I am currently focusing on calibration/validation efforts for the recently launched ESA Sentinel 3 ocean color satellite. As a follow up sensor to the very successful MERIS instrument, the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) aboard the Sentinel 3 satellite has been reviewed as the most optimal operational sensor for rapid, continuous, monitoring of inland and near coastal high biomass waters.

I am interested in improving techniques for harmful algal identification, specifically cyanobacteria, from space using the OLCI sensor and pushing the boundaries in terms of what can be monitored from a medium resolution, multispectral sensor. As a PhD student at the University of Cape Town, I will address these issues by collecting a variety of in-situ bio-optical and geophysical data ranging from inland, to near-coastal and possibly the Southern Ocean to assess radiometric errors with Sentinel 3 data and evaluate atmospheric correction methods for small inland water bodies.

I am also interested in using this field data to examine phytoplankton scattering variability and establish relationships between phytoplankton size, type, and structure on the backscattering signal and how this effects the water leaving signal. Radiative transfer modelling will also aid in determining how variations in algal type and abundance affects the red and NIR portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectral region has been shown to be the most useful in retrieving trophic information for high biomass, turbid waters, however, knowledge of these relationships are still quite limited. This information will allow us to optimize current algorithms to the new OLCI sensor which contains new spectral bands and increased signal to noise resolution.