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National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Scarla Weeks, Ph.D.
Satellite Oceanographer
Centre for Marine Studies
University of Queensland, Australia

Following a career change from the field of radiation oncology to that of satellite oceanography, Scarla Weeks pioneered operational marine remote sensing in southern Africa, working in close collaboration with the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG). She established and directed Ocean Space Marine Remote Sensing at the University of Cape Town, initiating the application of remotely sensed environmental indicators in the operational management of the South African and Namibian marine resources.

Together with NASA, Weeks determined the optimal processing parameters for thermal infrared and ocean color satellite data in regional waters, allowing the detection and monitoring of oceanographic phenomena in the regional ecosystems. Week’s research in Namibian waters led to the detection by satellite of hydrogen sulphide eruptions in regional waters, with profound impact on the fishery, ecosystem, and economy. This work, published in a number of prestigious journals, overturned the conventional view and attracted international attention. As a result, Weeks was awarded co-funding from the Pew Institute for Ocean Sciences for further study with Professor Andrew Bakun on Adverse Eco-Feedback mechanisms in marine ecosystems.

Weeks is presently based at the Centre for Marine Studies, University of Queensland, Australia, where her work on comparative ecosystems includes the application of satellite data to the physical and biological oceanographic patterns involved in the coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Weeks continues her active collaboration with the NASA OCBP in developing the application of MODIS satellite data to coral reef ecosystems.

Visit Weeks Career’s in Science page»

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