Mark Matthews

Mark Matthews

MERIS water quality images

Education

Education
Feb 2010 - Jan 2014

PhD

University of Cape Town

Distinguishing cyanobacteria from algae using bio-optical remote sensing.

This study advances the use of remote sensing for eutrophication and cyanobacterial bloom detectionin inland and near-coastal waters. The hypothesis that prokaryotic cyanobacteria can besystematically differentiated from algae (or eukaryotic species) on the basis of their distinctive bioopticalfeatures is tested using a novel in situ bio-optical dataset and remotely sensed data from theMedium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS). The in situ dataset was collected between2010 and 2012 from three optically-diverse South African inland waters. An empirical algorithm,called the maximum peak-height (MPH) algorithm, was developed for operational determinationsof trophic status (chlorophyll-a), cyanobacterial blooms and surface scum from MERIS. The algorithmuses top-of-atmosphere data to avoid the large uncertainties associated with atmosphericallycorrected water leaving refectance data in optically-complex and turbid waters. The detailed analysisof the variability of the optical properties of the three diverse reservoirs provides new knowledgeof the inherent optical properties of South African inland waters which have previously not beendescribed. The study also provides the frst detailed investigation of the effects of intracellular gasvacuoles on the optics of phytoplankton using a two-layered sphere model. The results demonstratehow gas vacuoles impart distinctive bio-optical features to cyanobacteria and cause backscatteringto be enhanced. An advanced inversion algorithm is developed for detecting phytoplankton assemblagetype and size from water leaving reflectance data. The algorithm, based on a direct solution of the equation of radiative transfer using Ecolight-S radiative transfer model, successfully distinguishes between phytoplankton assemblages dominated by small-celled cyanobacteria and those dominated by large-celled dinoflagellate species. It also provides reliable estimates of phytoplankton biomass (chl-a), and the absorption coefficients of phytoplankton and combined nonphytoplankton particulate and dissolved matter. Finally, the application of the MPH algorithm to a time series of MERIS data from 2002 to 2012 in South Africa’s 50 largest reservoirs is likely to be the most comprehensive assessment of eutrophication and cyanobacteria occurrence from earth observation data yet performed. The results confirm that widespread cyanobacterial blooms and eutrophication remain issues of critical concern for water quality in South Africa.

Feb 2007 - Feb 2009

Masters in Science

University of Cape Town

Pass:with Distinction

Dissertation:Remote sensing of water quality parameters in Zeekoevlei, a hypertrophic, cyanobacteria-dominated lake, Cape Town, South Africa. The research developed empirical algorithms for estimating a variety of water quality parameters from MERIS, Landsat and radiometric hyperspectral remotely sensed data, to produce water quality products providing information for management of problems such as eutrophication and cyanobacterial algal blooms. The research also investigated a variety of atmospheric correction procedures, and the implementation of more advanced semi-analytical type algorithms for detailed water quality products. The work recommended that remote sensing be integrated into inland water quality monitoring programmes in southern Africa, in order to better determine the regional status and trends of environmental threats from eutrophication and cyanobacterial algal blooms. This should be achieved through developing regional algorithms specific to southern African waters through the implementation of multi-site, multi-scale pilot projects at key sites, enabling the establishment of integrated in situ and remote systems providing continuous surveillance of water quality. 

Feb 2006 - Nov 2006

B.Sc. Honours

University of Cape Town

Pass: First Class

Key Courses: Environmental Management, Environmental Law, Social Impact Analysis, Environmental Economics,

Mini thesis: Environmental Indicators for sustainable development of the Great Lotus River, Cape Town. The research developed a low-cost easily implementable tool for assessing the health of the Lotus River using a stretches approach. 

Jan 2003 - Dec 2005

B.Sc.

University of Cape Town

Pass: 74% average

Key Courses:Earth sciences, Oceanography, Statistics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Economics. 

Work History

Work History
Jan 2014 - Present

Researcher

CSIR

Contract researcher for the CSIR. Investigator for South African National Space Agency exploratory study for Water Quality for upcoming EO-SAT1 mission.

Feb 2010 - Jul 2010

Project Officer

Marine Remote Sensing Unit, University of Cape Town

The EU Europe Africa Marine Network (EAMNET) project is a 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) of the European Community. The project aims to disseminate value added marine datasets from Europe and Africa in near real time at no cost via the GEONETCast system to a broad range of user communities in developing countries, while promoting the supporting the use of these products through capacity building and training (see www.eamnet.eu). Responsibilities: organization and reporting on capacity building exercises; provision of technical support and preparation of autodidactic material for users; logistics, acquisition of hardware for low cost reception stations; managing communications with user organizations in various countries including Tanzania, Namibia, Ghana, Sudan, Mali, Eritrea and Senegal; managing GEONETCast reception station at the University of Cape Town; preparation of project budget statements. Reference: Dr. Stewart Bernard.

May 2009 - Feb 2010

Project Officer

Marine Remote Sensing Unit, University of Cape Town

The DevCoCast (GEONETCast for and by Developing Counties) project is a 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) of the European Community. The project aims to disseminate value added environmental datasets from Europe and Africa in near real time at no cost via the GEONETCast system to a broad range of user communities in developing countries, while promoting the supporting the use of these products through capacity building and training (see www.devcocast.eu). Responsibilities: organization and reporting on capacity building exercises; provision of technical support and preparation of autodidactic material for users; logistics, acquisition of hardware for low cost reception stations; managing communications with user organizations in various countries including Tanzania, Namibia, Ghana, Sudan, Mali, Eritrea and Senegal; managing GEONETCast reception station at the University of Cape Town; preparation of project budget statements. Reference: Dr. Stewart Bernard.

Jul 2006 - Jul 2008

Demonstrator

University of Cape Town

  • Co-ordinating demonstrator 3rd year Climatology course, UCT
  • Demonstrator 3rd year Environmental Assessment and GIS, UCT
  • Demonstrator 3rd year Urban Geography, UCT

Responsibilities: management and co-ordination of course demonstrators, assisting students in preparation in practical assignments, examination of practical assignments, preparation of final course results. Reference: Dr. Kevin Winter.

Sep 2007 - Sep 2007

Developer

Satellite Application Centre, CSIR

Development of automated processing chains using Definiens 5 E Cognition image analysis software. 

Responsibilities: Development of edge-detection classification procedures using ECognition for mapping urban areas, specifically the ability to distinguish between high and low structures; preparation of report and presentation material. Reference: Mr. Wolfgang Luck.

Skills

Skills

Laboratory analysis

Analysis of samples in the laboratory for biochemical and optical variables

Bio-optical measurements

Measurements of in water and above water apparent and inherent optical properties

Remote sensing processing

Advanced skills in processing with MERIS imagery and software

Scientific writing

Advanced scientific writing skills in LateX and MS office

Computer programming

Programming experience with Python and Matlab