Heidi M. Dierssen

Dr. Dierssen leads the Coastal Ocean Laboratory for Optics and Remote Sensing at the University of Connecticut (www.colors.uconn.edu) and has a joint appointment in Marine Sciences and Geography. Our current projects involve optics and remote sensing of the coastal zone ranging from Long Island Sound to the Southern Ocean. We are developing algorithms to use remotely sensing imagery to quantify phytoplankton and CDOM in optically complex waters, benthic habitats in optically shallow waters, and to assess biogeographical distributions of organisms. We are also involved in research assessing backscattering, particle size distributions and bubbles. Our laboratory has a variety of equipment for measuring optical and physical properties of the water column that can be loaned out to interested students or investigators.My current research projects, provided in more detail on my laboratory webpage (www.colors.uconn.edu), include:

  • Remote Sensing of Coastal Habitats:  Seagrass, floating vegetation, sediments,ings, macroalgae and carbon export
  • Imaging of Organismal Color and Camouflage
  • Southern Ocean Sources of Backscattering:  Coccolithophores and Bubbles
  • Long Island Sound Color and Exchange:  remote sensing in optical complex water
  • Biogeographical Distributions of Marine Organisms

COLORS strives to develop quantitative linkages from remote sensing products to biogeochemical properties that contribute to a global understanding of elemental cycling.  Our research bridges the gap between ship-based sampling at discrete points and spatially comprehensive assessments from satellites and aircraft.

Research Projects

see webpage, Projects funded by: – Office of Naval Research, Optics and Biology

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research

Oceanography Student

Maryam Mirhakak – Ph.D. Student

Oceanography Alumni

Dirk Aurin – Ph.D. 2010

Kelley Bostrom – M.Sc. 2011

Christopher Buonassissi – M.Sc. 2009

Kaylan (Kate) Randolph – Ph.D. 2015

Brandon Russell – Ph.D. 2016

Former Postdoctoral Fellow

Shungu Garaba


Publications and PDFs provided on