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Toby Westberry

Toby Westberry

Assistant Professor (Senior Research)

Ph.D., 2005, University of California, Santa Barbara

Office/Lab: Cordley 2055/2054

Phone: 541-737-5274

Research Area

Ocean color remote sensing and bio-optics; Marine phytoplankton, primary production, physiology, biogeochemical cycling

Description of Research

My research investigates the role and functioning of marine algae (phytoplankton) in the ocean ecosystem.  What controls their distributions, patterns of productivity, and how are they changing with time?  To answer these broad questions, I work in the field of bio-optics and ocean color remote sensing, which can provide insight from the cellular sub-micron scale all the way up to the planetary scale through the use of satellites.  This latter aspect has become especially invaluable, as many of the questions we ask as earth system scientists are related to understanding the ocean's role in climate change and must be answered at these large scales (regional to global).

Research Group Members

Robert O'Malley (Programmer)
Gregory Sislbe (PostDoc)
Virginie van Dongen-Vogels (PostDoc)

Related Links

Lab website
Ocean Productivity website
NASA Ocean Color website
Personal website


Lee, Y.J., Matrai P.A., Friedrichs, A.M., Saba, V.S., Antoine, D., Asanuma, I., Belanger, S., Fernandez-Mendez, M., Hirawake, T., Kameda, T., Lee, Z., Melin, F., Scardi, M., Smyth, T., Tang, S., Turpie, K., Waters, K., Westberry, T.K. (2015), An assessment of phytoplankton primary productivity in the Arctic Ocean from satellite ocean color/in situ chlorophyll-a based models, Journal of Geophysical Research–Oceans, doi:10/1002/2015JC011018.

Behrenfeld, M.J., O’Malley, R.T., Boss, E., Siegel, D.A., Westberry, T.K., Graff, J.R., Halsey, K.H., Milligan, A.J., Brown, M.B. (2015), Re-evaluating ocean warming impacts on global phytoplankton, Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2838.

Graff, J.R., Westberry, T.K., Milligan, A.J., Brown, M.B., Dall’Olmo, G., van Dongen-Vogels, V., Reifel, K.M., Behrenfeld, M.J. (2015), Analytical phytoplankton carbon measurements spanning diverse ecosystems, Deep-Sea Research I, 102 : 16-25, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2015.04.006.

O’Malley, R.T., Behrenfeld, M.J., Westberry, T.K., Milligan, A.J., Shang, S., Yan, J. (2014), Geostationary satellite observations of dynamic phytoplankton photophysiology, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.10002/2014GL060246.

Westberry, T.K., and Behrenfeld, M.J., Primary productivity modeling from space: Past, present, and future, book chapter in Biophysical Applications of Satellite Remote Sensing, ed. Johnathan Hanes, Springer, 2014, 230 pp.

O’Malley, R.T., Behrenfeld, M.J., Westberry, T.K., Milligan, A.J., Reese, D.C., Halsey, K.H. (2013), Satellite detected signatures for submarine volcanic eruptions, Remote Sensing of the Environment, 140, 596-603.

Chase, A., Boss, E., Zaneveld, R., Bricaud, A., Claustre, H., Ras, J., Dall’Olmo, G., Westberry, T.K. (2013), Decomposition of in situ particulate absorption spectra, Methods in Oceanography, 7, 110-124.

Schmittner, A., Gruber, N., Mix, A.C., Key, R.M., Tagliabue, A., Westberry, T.K. (2013), Biology and air-sea gas exchange controls on the distribution of carbon isotope ratios (d13C) in the ocean, Biogeosciences, 10, 5793-5816, doi:10.5194/bg-10-5793-2013.

Westberry, T.K., Boss, E., Lee, Z., (2013), The influence of Raman scattering on ocean color inversion models, Applied Optics, 52 (22), 5552-5561.

Siegel, D.A., et al. (2013), Regional to global assessments of phytoplankton dynamics from the SeaWiFS mission, Remote Sensing of Environment, 135 (0), 77-91.

Westberry, T.K., and Behrenfeld, M.J., Primary productivity modeling from space: Past, present, and future, book chapter in Biophysical Applications of Satellite Remote Sensing, ed. Johnathan Hanes, Springer, in press 2013.

Westberry, T.K., Behrenfeld, M.J., Milligan, A.J., Doney, S.C. (2013), Retrospective Satellite Ocean Color Analysis of Ocean Iron Fertilization (OIF), Deep-Sea Research I, 73 : 1-16.

Williams, P.J. le B., Quay, P.D., Westberry, T.K., Behrenfeld, M.J. (2013), The oligotrophic ocean is autotrophic, Annual Reviews of Marine Science, 5 : 535-549.

Westberry, T.K., Williams, P.J. le B., Behrenfeld, M.J. (2012), Global Net Community Production and the Putative Net Heterotrophy of the Oligotrophic Oceans, Global Biogeochemical Cycles., 26, doi: 10.1029/2011GB004094.

Dall’Olmo, G., Boss, E., Behrenfeld, M.J., Westberry, T.K. (2012), Particulate optical scattering coefficients along an Atlantic Meridional Transect, Optics Express, 20 (19) : 21532-21551.

Dall’Olmo, G., Westberry, T.K., Behrenfeld, M.J., Boss, E., Courties, C., Prieur, L., Hardman-Mountford, N., Moutin, T. (2011), Inferring phytoplankton carbon and eco-physiological rates from diel cycles of spectral particulate beam-attenuation coefficient, Biogeosciences, 8 (11) : 3423-3439.

Dupouy, C., Benielli-Gary, D., Neveux, J., Dandonneau, Y., Westberry, T.K. (2011), An algorithm for detecting Trichodesmium surface blooms in the South Western Tropical Pacific, Biogeosciences, 8 (12) : 3631-3647.

Westberry, T.K., Dall’Olmo, G., Boss, E., Behrenfeld, M.J., Moutin, T. (2010), Coherence of particulate beam attenuation and backscattering coefficients in diverse open ocean environments, Optics Express, 18 (15): 15419-15425.

Slade, W.H., Boss, E., Dall'Olmo, G., Langner, M.R., Loftin, J., Behrenfeld, M.J., Roesler, C., Westberry, T.K. (2010), Underway and moored methods for improving accuracy in measurement of spectral particulate absorption and attenuation, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 27(10) : 1733-1746.

Saba, V.S., Friedrichs, M.A.M., et al. (2010), The challenges of modeling depth-integrated marine primary productivity over multiple decades: A case study at BATS and HOT, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 24, doi:10.1029/2009GB003655.

Saba, V.S., Friedrichs, M.A.M. et al. (2010), An evaluation of ocean color model estimates of marine primary productivity in coastal and pelagic regions across the globe, Biogeosciences, 8 (2) : 489-503.

Behrenfeld, M.J., Westberry, T.K., Boss, E., O'Malley, R.T., Siegel, D.A., Wiggert, J.D., Franz, B.A., McClain, C.R., Feldman, G.C., Doney, S.C., Moore, J.K., Dall'Olmo, G., Milligan, A.J., Lima, I., Mahowald, N. (2009), Satellite-detected fluorescence reveals global physiology of ocean phytoplankton, Biogeosciences, 6 (5) : 779-794.

Dall’Olmo, G., Westberry, T.K., Behrenfeld, M.J., Boss, E., Slade, W.H. (2009), Direct contribution of phytoplankton-sized particles to optical backscattering in the open ocean, Biogeosciences, 6 (6) : 947-967.

Doney, S.C., Lima, I., Moore, J.K., Lindsay, K., Behrenfeld, M.J., Westberry, T.K., et al. (2009), Skill metrics for confronting global upper ocean ecosystem-biogeochemistry models against field and remote sensing data, Journal of Marine Systems, 76 (1-2) : 95-112.

Friedrichs, M.A., Carr M., et al. (2009), Assessing the Uncertainties of Model Estimates of Primary Productivity in the Tropical Pacific Ocean, Journal of Marine Systems, 76 (1-2) : 113-133.

Westberry, T.K., Behrenfeld, M.J., Siegel, D.A., Boss, E. (2008), Carbon-based primary productivity modeling with vertically resolved photoacclimation, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 22 (2), doi:10.1029/2007GB003078.

Mackie, D.S., Boyd, P.W., McTainsh, G.H., Tindale, N.W., Westberry, T.K., Hunter, K.A. (2008), Biogeochemistry of Australian dust – from atmospheric uplift to oceanic uptake, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9 (3), doi:10.1029/2007GC001813.

Westberry, T.K., and Siegel, D.A. (2006), Spatial and temporal distribution of  Trichodesmium blooms in the world’s oceans, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 20 (4): doi: 10.1029/2005GB002673.

Westberry, T.K.,Siegel, D.A., Subramaniam, A. (2005),  An improved bio-optical model for the remote sensing of Trichodesmium spp. blooms, Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 110 (C6) : doi:10.1029/2004JC002517

Westberry, T.K., and Siegel, D.A. (2003),  Phytoplankton natural fluorescence variability in the Sargasso Sea.  Deep-Sea Research I, 50 (3) : 417-434.

Siegel, D.A., Westberry, T.K., Nelson, N.B., Michaels, A.F., et al. (2001), Bio-optical modeling of primary production on regional scales: the Bermuda BioOptics project.  Deep-Sea Research II, 48 (8-9) : 1865-1896.

Siegel, D.A., Westberry. T.K., Ohlmann, J.C. (1999), Cloud Color and Ocean Radiant Heating.  Journal of Climate, 12 (4) : 1101-1116.