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Ecological status and its measurement in surface marine waters
Measuring simple indicators, such as transparency and color, contributes to determine the ecological status of surface marine waters. These indicators are related to chlorophyll, algal biomass and organic compounds. To determine the ecological status of surface waters, the quantification of the presence of pollutants, such as accumulations of plastic debris, is also necessary. Currently, transparency and color measures are based on optical multi- and hyper-spectral imaging, the Secchi-disk depth and the Forel-Ule (FU) scale. Measures of accumulations of plastic debris are based on analysis of images of the sea surface.
To improve the assessment of the ecological status of water bodies, the Citclops (Citizens’ Observatory for Coast and Ocean Optical Monitoring) European action (2012-2015) has developed a mobile application that allows citizens to contribute to measuring water bodies' optical properties via participatory science.