Phytoplankton are single-celled, photosynthetic algae and cyanobacteria found in all aquatic environments. Differential pigmentation between phytoplankton taxa allows use of fluorescence excitation spectroscopy for discrimination and classification. For this work, we applied multivariate optical computing (MOC) to emulate linear discriminant vectors of phytoplankton fluorescence excitation spectra by using a simple filter-fluorometer arrangement. We grew nutrient-replete cultures of three differently pigmented species: the coccolithophore <i>Emiliania huxleyi,</i> the diatom <i>Thalassiosira pseudonana,</i> and the cyanobacterium <i>Synechococcus</i> sp. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) was used to determine a suitable set of linear discriminant functions for classification of these species over an optimal wavelength range. Multivariate optical elements (MOEs) were then designed to predict the linear discriminant scores for the same calibration spectra. The theoretical performance specifications of these MOEs are described.

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