Dr Sam Lavender

Dr Sam Lavender

Honorary Reader

Faculty of Science and Engineering


Employment background

  • 2012 - Director, Pixalytics Ltd
  • 2009 - Honorary Reader in Geomatics, University of Plymouth (UoP)
  • 2007 - 2012 Managing Director, ARGANS Limited
  • 2005 – 2009 Reader in Geomatics, UoP.
  • 2002 – 2005 Senior Lecturer in Geomatics, UoP.
  • 2000 – 2002 Lecturer in Geomatics, UoP.
  • 1997 – 2000 HSO Remote Sensing Scientist, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
  • 1995 – 1997 Manager of the NERC Remote Sensing & GIS Unit (RAGU), NERC.
  • 1992 – 2000 Part-Time Lecturer, UoP.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2000 – PgCert of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, UoP.
  • 1992 – 1996 PhD, Remote Sensing of Suspended Sediment, UoP.
  • 1989 – 1992 First Class BSc Honours Degree in Oceanography and Marine Computer Applications, UoP. Project: Digital Processing Used To Improve Underwater Video Pictures.
  • 1987 – 1989 Gillingham School, Gillingham, Dorset. A levels: Art, Biology, Chemistry and Pure & Applied Mathematics. AS level General Studies.

Professional membership

Professional membership:

  • 2009 - The Geological Remote Sensing Group
  • 2008 - The Oceanography Society
  • 2001 - The Hydrographic Society
  • 1992 - Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) and Challenger Society for Marine Science (CSMS)
  • 1989 - Royal Meteorological Society (fellow)

Roles on external bodies

  • 2012 - Treasurer of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL)
  • 2010 - UK representative and Council member for EARSeL
  • 2010 - Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) Chairman
  • 2008 – Co-chair International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Working Group VIII.6 on Oceans.
  • 2008 - RSPSoc Chair of external affairs
  • 2007 - 2008 Steering commitee member, NERC Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation
  • 2006 - 2010 International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) committee member.
  • 2005 - Chair of the ISPRS Working Group VIII.6 on: Coastal Zones Management, Ocean Colour and Ocean State Forecasting.
  • 2002 - 2008 Centre for observation of Air-Sea Interactions and fluXes (CASIX) scientific team leader and scientific steering committee member.
  • 2001 - 2006 Atlantic Meridional Transect steering committee member and hypothesis lead.
  • 2000 - Coastal & Inland Water chairperson on the CHRIS steering committee.

Research interests

Dr Samantha Lavender has over 15 years research experience. Her research interests have focused primarily on the quantitative remote sensing of water bodies using their colour signature. Often called ocean colour, it’s used to quantify and concentrations and behaviour of what’s dissolved or suspended by modelling the optical properties. Research extends from the movement of sediments in the coastal zone to phytoplankton in the open ocean. Both topics link to wider issues, such as climate change, as remote sensing is an important monitoring tool. . She is also Chairman for the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetric Society and, at an international level, co-chair of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Working Group VIII.7 (Oceans). Previously she was a committee member on the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG).

Other research

The aims of Pixalytics Ltd are to:

  • Development of end user software solutions and educational material to promote the usage of spaceborne imagery and its underlying information by non experts.
  • Scientific research into environmental mapping and change detection including marine, fresh water and terrestrial applications.
  • Promote the commercialisation of academic and scientific research, including actively supporting the growth of the UK and international remote sensing communities.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Postdoctoral/Postgraduate Researchers:

  • Dr Yaswant Pradhan & Dr Christophe Lerebourg, GlobCOLOUR, 2006-2007.
  • Rabiah Nasir-Habeeb, Tamar Valley GIS, 2005-2006.
  • Dr David Doxaran, Marie Curie Fellowship, 2003-2005.
  • Dr Yaswant Pradhan, NERC CoE: CASIX, 2004-2005.
  • R.C. Nagur Cherukuru, NERC: Hyperspectral investigations of optically active material, 2003-2004.
  • R.C. Nagur Cherukuru, NERC: High spatial resolution airborne remote sensing, 2001-2002.

PhD students (completed):

  • Barker, K. 2009 - Novel Techniques for Estimating Primary Production Rates directly from Earth Observation (EO) Data. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Brewin, R. 2011 - Detecting Phytoplankton Size Class Using Satellite Earth Observation. In Collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the UK MetOffice.
  • Cherukuru, R.C.N. 2005 - Remote Sensing of Optically Active Marine Components. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Fishwick, J. 2008. Relationships between biological and optical properties of phytoplankton assemblages. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Lowe, C. 2005 - Satellite remote sensing of characteristic properties and photosynthetic rates of phytoplankton ecosystems. In collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
  • Ostnes, R. 2006 - Use of Depth Perception for the Improved Understanding of Hydrographic Data. In collaboration with Aalesund University College, Norway.
  • Raitsos, D.E. 2006 - Understanding of the Variability of Phytoplankton Ecosystem Function Properties: A Synergistic use of Remote Sensing and In Situ Data. PhD thesis in collaboration with SAHFOS.

PhD students (ongoing):

  • Cristina, S. Optical Properties of the Ocean and Coastal Waters in the Southeast Coast of Portugal using Satellite Ocean Colour Remote Sensing Data. Based at the University of Algarve.
  • Hamid, I. Enhancing functionality of Chromo stereoscopy and assessing its usability for marine environment visualisation.
  • Krijnen, J. Remote sensing applied to variability in North Atlantic CO2 uptake. Based at the University of East Anglia.
  • Morakinyo, B. Flaring and Pollution Detection in the Niger Delta using Remote Sensing.
  • Wilkins, F. A Critical Review of the Application of Geospatial Techniques to Landscape Character Assessment in the Tamar Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  In collaboration with Tamar Valley Service.

Grants & contracts

Example funding obtained while member of academic staff at UoP:

  • ESA GlobColour, 2005 - 2009, as Lead Scientist 
  • ESA COASTCHART, 2004-2006, as a Sub-Contractor
  • NERC Small Grant, 2003 - 2004, hyperspectral investigations of optically active estuarine and coastal suspended material as Principle Investigator
  • ACE/AHRB, 2003-2004, Arts and Science Research Fellowship - collaborating scientist
  • UK & Chinese Offices of Science and Technology, 2002 - 2003, to investigate water quality in the Pearl River-Estuary using a combination of satellite remote sensing and sea-truthing as Co-Investigator
  • NERC Centre of Excellence in Earth Observation, 2002 - 2007, CASIX as Co-Investigator
  • NERC Consortium Grant, 2002 - 2006, the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) as Co-Investigator and member of the scientific steering committee. Also, co-editor of a special issue of Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (Volume 56, Issue 15, Pages 895-986, 1 July 2009)
  • DTI, 2002-2004,   Application of Ocean Colour Satellite Remote Sensing Techniques for Monitoring of Water Quality in Coastal Waters - Co-Investigator
  • ESTEC/Vega, 2001 - 2004 further development and scientific support for SeaWiFS processing software – supplying code/scientific support.
  • EU/Raleigh International, 2001-2002, Watershed Reef Interconnectivity Scientific Study (WRIScS), Belize. Leading the satellite ocean colour pilot study.

Research groups

  • Geomatics

Key publications are highlighted

Brewin RJW, Devred E, Sathyendranath S, Lavender SJ & Hardman-Mountford NJ 2011 'Model of phytoplankton absorption based on three size classes' APPLIED OPTICS 50, (22) 4535-4549 Author Site , DOI
Kay S, Hedley J, Lavender S & Nimmo-Smith A 2011 'Light transfer at the ocean surface modeled using high resolution sea surface realizations' Opt. Express 19, 6493-6504 Publisher Site , DOI
Brewin RJW, Hardman-Mountford NJ, Lavender SJ, Raitsos DE, Hirata T, Uitz J, Devred E, Bricaud A, Ciotti A & Gentili B 2011 'An intercomparison of bio-optical techniques for detecting dominant phytoplankton size class from satellite remote sensing' REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT 115, (2) 325-339 Author Site , DOI
Raitsos DE, Lavender SJ, Maravelias CD, Haralabous J, McQuatters-Gollop A, Edwards M & Reid PC 2011 'Macroscale factors affecting diatom abundance: a synergistic use of Continuous Plankton Recorder and satellite remote sensing data' INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING 32, (8) 2081-2094 Author Site , DOI
Brewin RJW, Sathyendranath S, Hirata T, Lavender SJ, Barciela RM & Hardman-Mountford NJ 2010 'A three-component model of phytoplankton size class for the Atlantic Ocean' ECOLOGICAL MODELLING 221, (11) 1472-1483 Author Site , DOI
Brewin RJW, Lavender SJ, Hardman-Mountford NJ & Hirata T 2010 'A spectral response approach for detecting dominant phytoplankton size class from satellite remote sensing' ACTA OCEANOLOGICA SINICA 29, (2) 14-32 Author Site , DOI
Brewin RJW, Lavender SJ & Hardman-Mountford NJ 2010 'Mapping size-specific phytoplankton primary production on a global scale' JOURNAL OF MAPS 6, (1) 448-462 Author Site , DOI
Kay S, Hedley JD & Lavender S 2009 'Sun Glint Correction of High and Low Spatial Resolution Images of Aquatic Scenes: a Review of Methods for Visible and Near-Infrared Wavelengths' REMOTE SENSING 1, (4) 697-730 Author Site , DOI
Aiken J, Pradhan Y, Barlow R, Lavender S, Poulton A, Holligan P & Hardman-Mountford N 2009 'Phytoplankton pigments and functional types in the Atlantic Ocean: A decadal assessment, 1995–2005' Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 56, (15) 899-917 , DOI
Robinson C, Holligan P, Jickells T & Lavender S 2009 'The Atlantic Meridional Transect Programme (1995-2012) Foreword' DEEP-SEA RESEARCH PART II-TOPICAL STUDIES IN OCEANOGRAPHY 56, (15) 895-898 Author Site , DOI
Raitsos DE, Lavender SJ, Maravelias CD, Haralabous J, Richardson AJ & Reid PC 2008 'Identifying four phytoplankton functional types from space: An ecological approach' LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY 53, (2) 605-613 Author Site , DOI
Merchant CJ, Filipiak MJ, Le Borgne P, Roquet H, Autret E, Piolle J-F & Lavender S 2008 'Diurnal warm-layer events in the western Mediterranean and European shelf seas' GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 35, (4) Author Site , DOI
Quatters-Gollop A, Raitsos DE, Edwards M, Pradhan Y, Mee LD, Lavender SJ & Attrill MJ 2007 'A long-term chlorophyll data set reveals regime shift in North Sea phytoplankton biomass unconnected to nutrient trends' Limnology and Oceanography 52, (2) 635-648
Pinnock S, D'Andon OF & Lavender S 2007 'GlobColour - A precursor to the GMES marine core service ocean colour Thematic Assembly Centre' Esa Bulletin-European Space Agency (132) 42-49
Aiken J, Fishwick JR, Lavender S, Barlow R, Moore GF, Sessions H, Bernard S, Ras J & Hardman-Mountford NJ 2007 'Validation of MERIS reflectance and chlorophyll during the BENCAL cruise October 2002: preliminary validation of new demonstration products for phytoplankton functional types and photosynthetic parameters' International Journal of Remote Sensing 28, (3-4) 497-516
Pinkerton MH, Moore GF, Lavender SJ, Gall MP, Oubelkheir K, Richardson KM, Boyd PW & Aiken J 2006 'A method for estimating inherent optical properties of New Zealand continental shelf waters from satellite ocean colour measurements' New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40, (2) 227-247
Doxaran D, Cherukuru N & Lavender SJ 2006 'Apparent and inherent optical properties of turbid estuarine waters: measurements, empirical quantification relationships, and modeling' Applied Optics 45, (10) 2310-2324
Raitsos DE, Lavender SJ, Pradhan Y, Tyrrell T, Reid PC & Edwards M 2006 'Coccolithophore bloom size variation in response to the regional environment of the subarctic North Atlantic' Limnology and Oceanography 51, (5) 2122-2130
Doxaran D, Castaing P & Lavender SJ 2006 'Monitoring the maximum turbidity zone and detecting fine-scale turbidity features in the Gironde estuary using high spatial resolution satellite sensor (SPOT HRV, Landsat ETM+) data' International Journal of Remote Sensing 27, (11) 2303-2321
Pradhan Y, Lavender SJ, Hardman-Mountford NJ & Aiken J 2006 'Seasonal and inter-annual variability of chlorophyll-a concentration in the Mauritanian upwelling: Observation of an anomalous event during 1998-1999' Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography 53, (14-16) 1548-1559
Ostnes R, Abbott V & Lavender S 2006 'Visualisation Techniques: results' The Hydrographic Journal 121, 3-8
Raitsos DE, Reid PC, Lavender SJ, Edwards M & Richardson AJ 2005 'Extending the SeaWiFS chlorophyll data set back 50 years in the northeast Atlantic' Geophysical Research Letters 32, (6)
Lavender SJ, Pinkerton MH, Moore GF, Aiken J & Blondeau-Patissier D 2005 'Modification to the atmospheric correction of SeaWiFS ocean colour images over turbid waters' Continental Shelf Research 25, (4) 539-555
Doxaran D, Cherukuru RCN & Lavender SJ 2005 'Quantification of suspended and dissolved material in the Tamar estuary from remote sensing reflectance measurements' International Journal of Remote Sensing 26, 1763-1769
Doxaran D, Cherukuru RCN & Lavender SJ 2005 'Use of reflectance band ratios to estimate suspended and dissolved matter concentrations in estuarine waters' International Journal of Remote Sensing 26, (8) 1763-1769
Doxaran D, Cherukuru RCN & Lavender SJ 2004 'Estimation of surface reflection effects on upwelling radiance field measurements in turbid waters' Journal of Optics A-Pure and Applied Optics 6, (7) 690-697
Lavender S & Abbott V 2004 'Monitoring and Assessment: Coastal Surveying' GeoInformatics, 7, 50-52
Barlow RG, Aiken J, Moore GF, Holligan PM & Lavender S 2004 'Pigment adaptations in surface phytoplankton along the eastern boundary of the Atlantic Ocean' Marine Ecology-Progress Series 281, 13-26
Lavender SJ, Pinkerton MH, Froidefond JM, Morales J, Aiken J & Moore GF 2004 'SeaWiFS validation in European coastal waters using optical and bio-geochemical measurements' International Journal of Remote Sensing 25, (7-8) 1481-1488
Doxaran D, Cherukuru RCN & Lavender SJ 2004 'Surface reflection effects on upwelling radiance field measurements in turbid waters., , pp ' Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics 6, 1-8
Doxaran D, Cherukuru NC, Lavender SJ & Moore GF 2004 'Use of a Spectralon panel to measure the downwelling irradiance signal: case studies and recommendations' Applied Optics 43, (32) 5981-5986
Ostnes R, Abbott V & Lavender S 2004 'Visualisation Techniques: An Overview – Part 1' The Hydrographic Journal 113, 3-7
Ostnes R, Abbott V & Lavender S 2004 'Visualisation Techniques: An Overview – Part 2' The Hydrographic Journal 114, 3-9
Pinkerton MH, Lavender SJ & Aiken J 2003 'Validation of SeaWiFS ocean color satellite data using a moored databuoy' Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 108, (C5)
Froidefond JM, Lavender S, Laborde P, Herbland A & Lafon V 2002 'SeaWiFS data interpretation in a coastal area in the Bay of Biscay' International Journal of Remote Sensing 23, (5) 881-904
Lavender SJ & Aiken J 2002 'Envisat: a new marine environmental satellite that observes the ocean from all perspectives' Ocean Challenge 1, 9-10
Lavender SJ & Nagur CRC 2002 'Mapping coastal waters with high resolution imagery: atmospheric correction of multi-height airborne imagery' Journal of Optics A-Pure and Applied Optics 4, (4) S50-S55
Lefèvre N, Aiken J, Rutllant J, Daneri G, Lavender S & Smyth T 2002 'Observations of pCO2 in the coastal upwelling off Chile: Spatial and temporal extrapolation using satellite data - art. no.-3055' Journal of Geophysical Research 107, (C6) , DOI
Doxaran D, Froidefond JM, Lavender SJ & Castaing P 2002 'Spectral signature of highly turbid waters. Application with SPOT data to quantify suspended particulate matter concentrations' Remote Sensing of Environment 81, 149-161
Barlow RG, Aiken J, Sessions HE, Lavender S & Mantel J 2001 'Phytoplankton pigment, absorption and ocean colour characteristics in the southern Benguela ecosystem' South African Journal of Science 97, (5-6) 230-238
Lavender SJ 2001 'A review of remote sensing in the marine environment' The Hydrographic Journal 99, 9-13
Smyth TJ, Miller PI, Groom SB & Lavender SJ 2001 'Remote sensing of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll during Lagrangian experiments at the Iberian margin' Progress in Oceanography 51, (2-4) 269-281
Smyth TJ, Miller PI, Groom SB & Lavender SJ 2001 'Remote Sensing of the physics and biology of Lagrangian experiments at the Iberian Margin' Progress in Oceanography 51, 269-281
Uncles RJ, Lavender SJ & Stephens JA 2001 'Remotely sensed observations of the turbidity maximum in the highly turbid Humber estuary, UK' Estuaries 24, (5) 745-755
Uncles RJ, Lavender SJ & Stephens JA 2001 'Remotely Sensed Observations of the Turbidity Maximum in the highly Turbid Humber Estuary, UK' Estuaries 24, 5, 745-755
Lavender SJ & Groom SB 2001 'The detection and mapping of algal blooms from space' International Journal of Remote Sensing 22, (2-3) 197-201
Abraham ER, Law CS, Boyd PW, Lavender SJ, Maldonado MT & Bowie AR 2000 'Importance of stirring in the development of an iron-fertilized phytoplankton bloom' NATURE 407, (6805) 727-730 Author Site , DOI
Lavender SJ & Groom SB 1999 'The SeaWiFS automatic data processing system (SeaAPS)' INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING 20, (6) 1051-1056 Author Site , DOI
Moore GF, Aiken J & Lavender SJ 1999 'The atmospheric correction of water colour and the quantitative retrieval of suspended particulate matter in Case II waters: application to MERIS' INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING 20, (9) 1713-1733 Author Site , DOI
Lavender S, Nunny R, Tillett D, Kirkwood D, Miller A, Moore G & Cook J 2001 'Monitoring of the Belizian coastal zone using satellite ocean colour imagery' Proceedings of RSPS 2001: Geomatics, Earth Observation and the Information Society 154-163
Lavender SJ 2001 'The Ocean Colour Mapping of Estuarine and Coastal Waters' Proceedings of the 4th Berlin Workshop on Ocean Remote Sensing Wissenschaft und Technik 83-87
Conference Papers
Lavender S, d'Andon OF, Kay S, Bourg L, Emsley S, Gilles N, Nightingale T, Quast R, Bates M & Storm T 2012 'Applying uncertainties to ocean colour data' S17-S20 , DOI
Lavender S, Pradhan Y, Aiken J & IEEE 2007 'Analysis of SeaWiFS chlorophyll-a matchups for the Atlantic Ocean using the Atlantic Meridional Transect cruise data' 711-+