AIHABs project conducts water sampling campaigns during 2022 Algal blooming season

9 March, 2023

The AIHABs project is a multi-disciplinary research project led by a team of researchers from the Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) School of Transport & Civil Engineering and includes researchers from six other European academic and research institutes:

  1. Norwegian University of Science and Technology Computer Science (NTNU)
  2. German Research Centre for Geosciences Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics (GFZ)
  3. University of South Bohemia (USB) in České Budějovice, Czech Republic
  4. International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), Portugal
  5. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM)
  6. University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Spain

Miño Estuary, Spain - Boat filled with the water samples. September 2022 (Photo credit: AIHABs)

As part of the AIHABs project activities, three water quality sampling campaigns were conducted during the summer and fall of 2022 in the Belesar Reservoir and the Miño Estuary in Spain at ten sampling points which were carefully selected in each water body. The three sampling campaigns concided with the periods before, during, and after the algal blooming season in the two water bodies.

The UCS team organised all logistics of the three campaigns and arranged with the UAM team to partcipate in the in situ water quality measurement and with the GFZ team to fly a drone carrying a high resolution camera to take hyperspectral images for the sampling areas. In addition, the INL team also took part in one of the water quality sampling campaigns to undertake their first field test of the portable sensor which was developed in the lab to detect the microcystin toxin in caynobacteria.  Most analysis of the collected water samples was conducted either in situ or in the USC, UAM, and INL labs while a few toxicological tests to detect the cyanotoxin species in the water samples still need to be carried out by an external toxicological lab. Data obtained so far from these sampling campaigns included basic physicochemical parameters, nutrients (N and P species), and photosynthetic pigments (Chlorophyll-a).  These data will be used to characterise the harmful algal bloom in the studied water bodies and also to provide ground truth data to validate the remote sensing measurements and to calibrate and validate the mathematical models of the Belesar Reservoir and the Miño Eustary.


Belesar Reservoir, Spain - Drone with a multispectral camera. September 2022 (Photo credit: AIHABs)

Similar sampling campaigns have been also conducted in the Orlík Reservoir in the Czech Republic by the USB team.  The water sampling campaign included in situ measurements of chemical and physical properties of collected water samples and aerial hyperspectral imaging of the sampling site by drone camera.

Moreover hydrochemical and hydrobiological lab analysis were subsequently carried out on some of the water samples collected from the reservoir. As a result, a total of 27 chemical and physical parameters were evaluated in the field and in the laboratory, including spectroradiometer measurements and determination of cyanobacterial and algal pigment concentrations.