Use of fluorescence in oceanographic studies of coastal waters of Vietnam
Dates: March 2012
Visiting Professor: Prof. Walker Smith, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, USA
Host: Dr. Lam Ngoc Nguyen, Institute of Oceanography, Vietnam
During March, 2012 Dr. Walker Smith visited the Institute of Oceanography in Nha Trang, Viet Nam. Nha Trang is a city on the south-central coast of Viet Nam, and is well known for its marine reserves, reefs and fisheries. The Institute is one of Viet Nam’s leading research facilities, and has a building dedicated to marine plankton that was built with Danish assistance ten years ago. Faculty in Marine Plankton have numerous ongoing projects with various European and Asian countries as well as the United States. Many of these projects deal with the distribution, ecology, and effects of harmful algal blooms in coastal waters.
The course was designed to introduce students to the concepts of fluorescence and its use in oceanography. Topics covered included fluorescence of chlorophyll, active fluorescence, fluorescence from space, and fluorescence in other applications that ranged from chemical procedures to applications in flow cytometry. Discussions also included how fluorescence is being used to assess biological and oceanographic impacts of climate change. The students were from a variety of backgrounds and institutions, including one from Denmark, one from the historic city of Hue, and one from Ho Chi Minh City.
The course involved both lectures and laboratories. The students were also able to sample in the field to look at spatial patterns of variable fluorescence. The field trips provided a welcome addition to laboratory studies and a vivid contrast in using fluorescence in different settings. One of the final elements of the course was an overnight trip north along the coast.