Amy Amatya, ’21, Geosciences

I worked to better interpret data that are used to inventory phytoplankton over large expanses of the Southern Ocean. The understanding of the large-scale interannual variation in Southern Ocean phytoplankton is limited because it relies heavily on satellite data, which can be obscured by factors such as sea-ice extent and cloud cover. Our group used backscatter data — which are reflections of a signal such as sound waves or light — from satellite and float retrievals as proxies for the characterization of phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean. Since 2014, the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) project has been collecting data from biogeochemical profiling floats that allow us to identify trends not only in backscatter/chlorophyll, but in accompanying nutrients and temperatures. The first half of
my internship centered on a spatially minded comparison of backscatter from floats and satellites, then I transitioned toward focusing on float backscatter and correlating these results to the biogeochemical results. I improved my programming skills by working in MATLAB with large datasets and I valued being in an environment that was collaborative yet allowed me to think independently.