A Review of Holography in the Aquatic Sciences: In situ Characterization of Particles, Plankton, and Small Scale Biophysical Interactions

TitleA Review of Holography in the Aquatic Sciences: In situ Characterization of Particles, Plankton, and Small Scale Biophysical Interactions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsNayak, AR, Malkiel, E, McFarland, MN, Twardowski, MS, Sullivan, JM
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Type of ArticleJournal Article
Keywordsbiophysical interactions, holography, particle interactions, particle patchiness, plankton distributions, plankton imaging, underwater imaging

The characterization of particle and plankton populations, as well as microscale biophysical interactions, is critical to several important research areas in oceanography and limnology. A growing number of aquatic researchers are turning to holography as a tool of choice to quantify particle fields in diverse environments, including but not limited to, studies on particle orientation, thin layers, phytoplankton blooms, and zooplankton distributions and behavior. Holography provides a non-intrusive, free-stream approach to imaging and characterizing aquatic particles, organisms, and behavior in situ at high resolution through a 3-D sampling volume. Compared to other imaging techniques, e.g., flow cytometry, much larger volumes of water can be processed over the same duration, resolving particle sizes ranging from a few microns to a few centimeters. Modern holographic imaging systems are compact enough to be deployed through various modes, including profiling/towed platforms, buoys, gliders, long-term observatories, or benthic landers. Limitations of the technique include the data-intensive hologram acquisition process, computationally expensive image reconstruction, and coherent noise associated with the holograms that can make post-processing challenging. However, continued processing refinements, rapid advancements in computing power, and development of powerful machine learning algorithms for particle/organism classification are paving the way for holography to be used ubiquitously across different disciplines in the aquatic sciences. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of holography in the context of aquatic studies, including historical developments, prior research applications, as well as advantages and limitations of the technique. Ongoing technological developments that can facilitate larger employment of this technique toward in situ measurements in the future, as well as potential applications in emerging research areas in the aquatic sciences are also discussed.


All arrays