Sam Laney, 2006 Postdoctoral Scholar


Sam Laney is an ecologist and an engineer interested in marine photosynthesis and phytoplankton ecology. His research at WHOI involves developing methods to measure and interpret changes in the optical properties of phytoplankton, in order to understand better their photosynthetic responses to environmental fluctuations. Sam received graduate degrees in biological oceanography at Oregon State University in the College of Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences, with minors in physical oceanography (MS) and electrical engineering and computer science (PhD).

During his appointment as an OLI Postdoctoral Scholar Sam has designed and deployed a automated system of radiometers on the Air-Sea Interaction Tower at WHOI’s Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO). These instruments continuously measure the sun-stimulated fluorescence emission of phytoplankton, an optical property that is especially well suited for ocean observing networks but which has historically been difficult to interpret meaningfully in ecological terms. Sam is using these optical data from MVCO to develop a nonlinear model to relate relevant ecological changes in the phytoplankton to variability in their sun-stimulated fluorescence signal. Sam’s OLI postdoctoral scholarship also supports his involvement in two WHOI-funded research projects: an Arctic Research Initiative study to assess bio-optical properties of polar phytoplankton, and a Green-Hiam technology innovation project to develop novel seagoing instrumentation to explore a primitive form of photosynthesis in the ocean.

 More information about Sam Laney’s research, including a link to his open-source fluorescence transient analysis package vcode, can be found on his WHOI home page: