Master of Sciences in Oceanography Student, Thomas Leeuw, Receives Recogntion for Research and is Published in Scientific Journal

Posted February 18, 2013

Thomas Leeuw, Master of Science in Oceanography student, recently received honorable mention at two separate conferences for his research. Leeuw presented his work at the American Academy of Underwater Science symposium in Portland, Maine and at the Ocean Optics conference in Glasgow, Scotland. His paper based on the research, titled “Remote Identification of the Invasive Tunicate Didemnum vexillum Using Reflectance Spectroscopy”, has been accepted into the journal Applied Optics. Leeuw’s research uses reflectance and an algorithm he created to identify Didemnum vexillum, an invasive marine organism on Georges Bank, an area of the sea floor between Cape Cod, MA and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. “Mapping of D. vexillum mats is critical in order to assess the impacts this invasive will have on the ecosystem and the fisheries of Georges Bank,” says Leeuw.
Additionally Leeuw and his advisor Dr. Emmanual Boss are developing an iPhone app to provide people with a simple method to measure water quality. The app would assess pixels in images of water taken by the iPhone in order to get a rough estimate of light scattered back out of the water. Leeuw says, “This light contains information on what is in the water. We hope to get quantitative estimates of chlorophyll, amount of suspended material, and amount of dissolved organic material. This will be a tool not just for scientists, but for anyone who is interested in contributing to world wide database of water quality measurements. GPS coordinates along with any data collected by a ‘citizen scientist’ can then be instantly uploaded to the web and available for anyone to view.” To read the abstract of Leeuw's paper, please go here.