Pigments such as chlorophyll are essential in directly harvesting energy from sunlight during photosynthesis. Pigment analysis provides an estimation of algal abundance that has public health and ecological significance. Various pigments are essential to photosynthetic organisms’ ability to harvest energy from sunlight. Chlorophyll pigments are found in many types of organisms such as plants, cyanobacteria, and algae– while phycocyanin pigments are mainly found in freshwater cyanobacteria. Pigment analysis provides an estimation of algal abundance; it is a cost-effective proxy to monitor harmful algal blooms as well as a waterbody’s trophic status.
At NJCWST, we measure fluorescence of chlorophyll and fluorescence of phycocyanin using handheld field meters. We also perform laboratory testing to quantify pigments of chlorophyll-a and phycocyanin.