Caitlin Riddick

PhD Research Student

Dr Andrew Tyler, Dr Peter Hunter, Dr Laurence Carvalho (CEH)B.S. Biology (Hons) - Emory University (2003-2007)
M.Res. Environmental Biology - University of St Andrews (2007-2008)

Start Date: 1st July 2010

Room 3A135, Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 467831, +1 (607)280-5920 (USA)
fax: +44 (0)1786 467843

Research Project

Bio-optical properties and remote sensing of phytoplankton blooms in European lakes

(Funded by University of Stirling, Biological and Environmental Sciences)

Lake ecosystems are integral components to the biosphere and highly sensitive indicators of environmental change.  Eutrophication of lakes is of particular concern, as this gives rise to phytoplankton blooms and growth of potentially toxic cyanobacteria. The use of remote sensing to monitor phytoplankton blooms allows relatively quick measurement of biogeochemical properties, and provides the ability to assess lake health across wide spatial areas and long time series.  However, this is a relatively undeveloped field for so-called Case 2 waters, and there is an increasing need to establish algorithms for constituent retrieval in lakes and coastal areas where the waters are more optically complex.

The aim of this project is to: (1) establish standard working protocols for the measurement of inherent optical properties in shallow and highly turbid lake waters;(2) investigate the spatial and seasonal variability in the total and mass-specific inherent optical properties of lake biogeochemical constituents; (3) use the bio-optical datasets so derived to parameterise radiative transfer models of the underwater light field in lakes in support of the development and benchmarking of algorithms for satellite remote sensing.

My PhD research began with an investigation of the distribution of cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Balaton, Hungary during August 2010, using hyperspectral airborne remote sensing (NERC ARSF) and MERIS satellite imagery to extract water quality parameters.  Concurrent measurements were made to quantify the attenuation, absorption and backscattering in order to obtain inherent optical properties (IOPs) of the lake, as well as in situ water samples for laboratory validation.  Additionally, this data will be applied to algorithm development and testing for retrieval of in-water constituents in Case 2 waters (inland and coastal waters). 

Field work is currently underway at Loch Leven and Loch Lomond to further explore the seasonal and spatial variability of IOPs within a lake system, with the measurement of above-water radiometry and the deployment of underwater bio-optical equipment (NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility).


Horvath, H., Kovacs, A.W., Riddick, C. and Presing, M. (in press). Extraction methods of phycocyanin determination in freshwater filamentous cyanobacteria and its application in a shallow lake. European Journal of Phycology.

Unpublished Works

Lyman, C.A. (2008). Spring peaks and thresholds for diatom abundance in a long-term phenology study on Loch Leven. Unpublished M.Res. Thesis. (Distinction)


Riddick, C.A.L. (2012). Bio-optical properties of freshwater phytoplankton blooms. BES Postgraduate Symposium, University of Stirling.

Riddick, C.A.L, Hunter, P.D., Tyler, A.N., Martinez-Vicente, V., Groom S., Carvalho, L. (2011). Inherent optical properties of Lake Balaton, Hungary. BES Postgraduate Poster Session, University of Stirling.

Lyman, C.A. (2011). Remote sensing and bio-optical properties of phytoplankton in European lakes. RSPSoc Annual Student Meeting, Buxton.

Lyman, C.A. (2011). Remote sensing and bio-optical properties of phytoplankton in European lakes. SBES Postgraduate Symposium, University of Stirling.

Professional Society Memberships

American Geophysical UnionRemote Sensing and Photogrammetry SocietyAmerican Society of Limnology and Oceanography and British Psychological Society

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