NASA Sponsored Workshop on Calibration and Validation of Ocean Color Remote Sensing – 19 July – 13 August, 2021, Maine (USA)

An intensive four-week, cross-disciplinary, graduate-level workshop in optical oceanography will be offered at the Bowdoin College’s SCSC. This NASA-sponsored workshop is a continuation of the optical oceanography course first offered at the Friday Harbor Laboratories in 1985 and since 2001 at the Darling Marine Center. Past graduates are many of today’s leaders in oceanography.

The major theme of the workshop is calibration and validation of ocean color remote sensing. The course will provide students with a fundamental knowledge of ocean optics and optical sensor technology that will enable them to make quality measurements, assess the uncertainties associated with the measurements, and compare these data with remotely sensed ocean color measurements and derived
products. The course is sponsored by NASA, the University of Maine and Bowdoin College, with the goal of preparing a new generation of oceanographers trained in the use of optics to study the oceans.

Course elements include:
• lectures on the basic theory of the light interaction with matter in aquatic environments; ocean color remote sensing and its inversion; optical sensor design and function; ocean biogeochemistry; computation and propagation of measurement uncertainties;
• laboratory sessions using optical instrumentation and radiative transfer software;
• field sampling of optical and biogeochemical variables in the environmentally diverse waters of coastal Maine;
• analysis of optical and biogeochemical data sets; and
• collaborative student projects.

See: and for previous class content and activities.

COVID 19: Given the pandemic situation we limit the workshop this year to fifteen US-based participants. The workshop is contingent on local rules and travel restrictions and testing protocols as determined by Bowdoin College at the time of the course. If a quarantine period will be necessary at the beginning of the workshop, we will consider online alternatives during this period. However, given the essential, hands-on aspects of the class, we are likely to postpone the class if it appears that online delivery will be required for the entire 4-week period.


While the majority of the class will likely be composed of early career graduate students, advanced graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will be considered for admission.
Vaccines are currently under an FDA emergency use authorization, and thus cannot be required of participating students at this time. However, if/when they receive normal authorization, we are very likely to require students to be vaccinated to participate in the class.

Instructors: Emmanuel Boss (coordinator), Ivona Cetinic, Meg Estapa, Curt Mobley, Collin Roesler, Ken Voss, and Jeremy Werdell with Guillaume Bourdin as the teaching assistant.

Dates: July 19-August 13, 2021 (arrive July 18, depart August 14)
Costs: Room and board, as well as graduate course credits for interested students through the University of Maine will be covered through a grant for qualified participants.
Application Deadline: May 15, 2021
Notification by: June 15, 2021
To apply: Submit a recent transcript, a current CV (two-page maximum), a letter from your advisor, and a one-page statement of how you anticipate that this course will contribute to your professional development via email to Guillaume Bourdin ( All material should be sent as PDF attachments.

Acceptance criteria: Likely impact of the class on the individual’s career, transcripts, letter from the academic advisor/supervisor. We are committed to bringing a cohort of students together whose background, experiences and training result in diversity of interest, ideas, and skills from which everyone benefits.


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