Variability in phytoplankton pigments and bio-optical measurements at the Latin America ANTARES-ChloroGIN time series stations (2012-2017)

ANTARES is a network of eight countries dedicated to study long-term changes in coastal areas around Latin America based on the observation of the temporal variability of eight coastal stations. During the past five years (2012 to 2017) , this study had as main goal to strengthening the interaction between NANO and ´ChloroGIN-ANTARES´ networks focusing specially on pigment analysis using HPLC. This objective was accomplished thanks to the collaboration with the Ocean Ecology Laboratory (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA). The importance of this analysis is both (a) its relationship with biogeochemical cycles and (b) the need of data to calibrate and validate mathematical algorithms used to interpret satellite images.

Participating countries

– Argentina -Brazil -Colombia -Ecuador -Mexico -Peru  -Venezuela

General objectives

  • Strengthening the interaction between NANO and ´ChloroGIN-ANTARES´ networks
  • Improve and standardize pigment sampling and analysis using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) among participating time series stations;
  • Quantify pigment concentrations 1) as an initial step for the future implementation of Phytoplankton Functional Type studies, 2) to monitor the spatio-temporal variability of phytoplankton communities across Latin America, 3) to evaluate biogeochemical cycles and 4) to calibrate and validate mathematical algorithms used to interpret satellite images;
  • Contribute to the maintenance of the NANO and ANTARES websites;
  • Disseminate the role of the oceans and organizations such as NF-POGO, NANO and ANTARES to society through outreach campaigns in all participating countries.

General achievements

  • A liquid nitrogen dewar was acquired for Cartagena station with NANO funding to guarantee all participating time series stations had the necessary material for preserving samples;
  • Workshop to provide an introduction to HPLC analyses, pigment indices; CHEMTAX; and remote sensing of Phytoplankton Functional Types, at Margarita Island, Venezuela, 21-24 October 2013;
  • Several campaigns in 6 Antares stations (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela) between 2012 and 2014 included sampling for pigment analysis;
  • With NANO funding, all samples were shipped to a high quality Centre (at NASA) for HPLC analyses;
  • Project participants were involved in the Regional Centre of Excellence “Phytoplankton Bio-optical Variability: Application to the Study of Coastal Systems”, held in Baja California, Mexico, 19 Jan- 6 Feb 2015;
  • 5-day Workshop “Variability in phytoplankton pigments at the Antares-ChloroGIN time series stations” to discuss and interpret 2012-2014 results, including a comparison of phytoplankton pigment analysis obtained at each center and those provided by NASA, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, 15-19 Feb 2016;
  • 4-day workshop “Measuring of the light absorption properties by particulate material in sea water” to teach and share experiences in the analysis of phytoplankton light absorption measurements and interpret the results of the HPLC intercomparison among participating countries during 201, Lima, Peru, 6-10 Feb, 2017;
  • Development of Secchi disc, which was made available for each participating country; A manual in spanish was shared among participants.
  • Outreach campaigns were conducted in Mexico;
  • A survey on the participating Antares stations protocols listed all stations already measuring phytoplankton light absorption properties, and promoted the incorporation of these measurements in the remaining stations. The final protocol (in Spanish) was shared among participants and uploaded to NANO and ANTARES web pages;
  • Using a biogeography point of view, the spatio-temporal variability of phytoplankton community size structure was evaluated and a manuscript was submitted to Oceanography Magazine and is now under revisions by co-authors after reviewers recommendations.

Scientific outputs

Book Chapter

  • Lutz. 2014. Importance of Time-Series Studies: The Latin-American Antares Network. In: Djavidnia, S., Cheung, V., Ott, M., Seeyave, S. (Eds.). Oceans and Society: Blue Planet. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Journal Articles

  • Gonzalez-Silvera et al. (2020) The Effect of Cold and Warm Anomalies on Phytoplankton Pigment Composition in Waters off the Northern Baja California Peninsula (México): 2007–2016. See details here.
  • Gonzalez-Silvera, A.; Rudorff, N.; Santamaria-del-Angel, E.; Arregoces, L.; Bernales, A.; Cañón-Paez, M. L.; Gaeta, S.; Kampel, M.; Ledesma, J.; Pompeu, M.; Rojas, J.; Ruiz, M. G.; Silva, R.; Saavedra-Garcia, A. (under review). Phytoplankton pigment variability and community structure around Latin America coastal time series stations: the ANTARES network. Submitted to Oceanography Magazine.

Presentations at Scientific Events

  • Gonzalez-Silvera and N. Silva-Hernández. 2014. LA-NANO Regional Project: Pigment analysis using HPLC in ANTARES Network coastal time series station (Latin America). World Research and Innovations Congress on Oceans (WRIC Oceans). Lisbon, 15-16th October 2014.
  • Gonzalez-Silvera and N. Silva-Hernández. 2014. Networking in Latin-America: Introducing the ecological use of phytoplankton pigments in the NANO community. Blue Planet Symposium 2015.
  • Rivero, L. Arregoces, J. Salon, G. Mayo, H. Llamas, K. Lopez and B. Uribe. 2015. Red Internacional de Monitoreo Ambiental y Oceánico Antares. XVI Congreso Latinoamericano de Ciencias del Mar (COLACMAR) y XVI SENALMAR. Santa Marta, Colombia.
  • Gonzalez-Silvera, E. Santamaria-del-Angel, R. Millán-Núñez, V. Camacho-Ibar, A. Mercado and M.F. Gracia-Escobar. The effect of interannual processes on phytoplankton pigments off Northern Baja California Peninsula (Mexico): 2007-2016. Proceedings XXIII Ocean Optics Conference, Victoria (Canada), 23-28 October 2016.
  • Lutz, V., Chidiak, M., Frouin, R., Negri, R., Dogliotti, A., Filipello, C., Silva, R., Ruiz, G. Ecosystem Service of Regulation at the Antares Regions – Socioeconomic Implications: EPEA-Argentina case study. International Symposium ‘Third Blue Planet: Oceans and Society’. College Park (USA); 31 May – 2 June 2017.
  • Gonzalez-Silvera, R. Millán-Núñez, E. Santamaria-del-Angel, L. Arregoces, Avy Bernales, M. Cañón-Paez, S. Gaeta, M. Kampel, J. Ledesma, R. Negri, M. Pompeu, J. Rojas, M. G. Ruiz, N. Rudorff, J. Salon, R. Silva, A. Saavedra-Garcia. 2017. Variabilidad del pigmento del fitoplancton y estructura de la comunidad en torno a las estaciones costeras de la serie temporal de América Latina: la red ANTARES Congreso Venezolano de Oceanologia Cumana 2017 3-7 julio (Venezuela).
  • Rojas-Márquez, R. Varela, L. Lorenzoni, F. Muller-Karger. 2017. El tiempo del zooplancton: 13 años de investigación en un margen continental del Mar Caribe del Sudeste Congreso Venezolano de Oceanologia Cumana 2017 3-7 julio (Venezuela).
  • Gonzalez-Silvera. Phytoplankton pigments around Latin America: the ANTARES network. 19th POGO Annual Meeting, San Diego 23rd – 24th January 2018.

Societal outputs

  • A poster about NANO-LA was presented at Baja California University “Casa Abierta” , Mexico, October 2015;
  • Presentation “Spatial and temporal variability of phytoplankton pigments in the Latin America ANTARES Network (2012-2014)” delivered at Student Annual Congress of the Faculty of Marine Science (University of Baja California), May 2016;
  • Presentation on general objectives of the NANO project and distribution of didactic material on the importance of the oceans to the life in our planet at the XI UABC EXPO EDUCATION, Mexico, October 2016.

Project contributions to NANO News

NN2 – pp.6

NN3 – pp. 10

NN4 – pp. 8

NN5 – pp. 13

NN6 – pp. 4-5

NN7 – pp. 14

NN8 – pp. 11, pp. 22

NN10 – pp. 13

NN12 – pp. 9

Access all NANO News issues here

Coordinators (period)

Adriana Gonzalez (2014-2017)

Ana Dogliotti (2012)

Jaimie Rojas-Marques (2013)

Advising scientists

Dr Frank Muller Karger, University of South Florida, USA

Dr Milton Kampel, INPE, Brazil

Dr Ruben Negri, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina

Dr Vivian Lutz, INIDEP, Argentina

Dr Yrene Astor, Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales, Venezuela


Abraham Saavedra GarciaUABC
Adriana GonzalezUABC
Ana Doglioti
Christian NaranjoINPCAREcuador
Eduardo Santamaria
Jaimie RojasFLASAVenezuela
Jesús Ledesma
Liseth Arregocés
Maria Elena Tapia BernittaINOCAREcuador
Maria Guillermina Ruiz
Mayza Pompeu
Natalia Rudorff
Natalia Silva Hernandez
Ricardo SilvaINIDEP
Roberto Millán

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