Dr David McKee



Personal statement

The oceans play a hugely important role in the global carbon cycle and in energy transport mechanisms that influence world climate. Monitoring oceans is difficult due to the vast areas involved, the harsh environmental conditions and the rapid temporal variability of marine biogeochemical systems. Optical sensors can provide information about biological and mineral particles and dissolved substances. The technology is particularly suitable as optical sensors can be deployed on a variety of platforms, from satellites and aircraft to in situ moorings and underwater vehicles. David’s research is currently focused on improving the quality of products obtained from ocean colour remote sensing signals and in situ optical measurements of absorption, scattering and fluorescence. He is also interested in development of new platforms for optical instruments in oceanography such as micro-satellites for Earth observation and in situ profiling moorings. The research combines significant time spent at sea making measurements, numerical simulation of underwater and water leaving light fields and statistical data analysis. Most of the work is concentrated on optically complex shelf seas (e.g. Bristol Channel, Irish Sea, Mediterranean) where the influence of terrestrial and anthropogenic sources are strongest, though more recently he has started to develop interests in optical complexity in more open ocean areas that are subject to episodic inputs of wind-borne particulates. A key element of David’s NERC Fellowships has been the development of several very successful collaborations with partners in UK and international institutions.


Large scale three-dimensional modelling for wave and tidal energy resource and environmental impact : methodologies for quantifying acceptable thresholds for sustainable exploitation
Gallego A., Side J., Baston S., Waldman S., Bell M., James M., Davies I., O'Hara Murray R., Heath M., Sabatino A., McKee D., McCaig C., Karunarathna H., Fairley I., Chatzirodou A. , Venugopal V., Nemalidinne R. , Yung T.Z. , Vögler A., MacIver R., Burrows M.
Ocean and Coastal Management Vol 147, pp. 67-77, (2017)
Uncertainty budgets for liquid waveguide CDOM absorption measurements
Lefering Ina, Röttgers Rüdiger, Utschig Christian, McKee David
Applied Optics Vol 56, pp. 6357-6366, (2017)
The area-to-mass ratio and fractal dimension of marine flocs
Bowers D.G., McKee D., Jago C.F., Nimmo-Smith W.A.M.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science Vol 189, pp. 224-234, (2017)
A bio-optical model for integration into ecosystem models for the Ligurian Sea
Bengil Fethi, McKee David, Beşiktepe Sükrü T., Sanjuan Calzado Violeta, Trees Charles
Progress in Oceanography Vol 149, pp. 1-15, (2016)
Improved determination of particulate absorption from combined filter pad and PSICAM measurements
Lefering Ina, Röttgers Rüdiger , Weeks Rebecca , Connor Derek, Utschig Christian , Heymann Kerstin, McKee David
Optics Express Vol 24, pp. 24805-24823, (2016)
An integrated camera system for effective acquisition, capturing and transmission of hyperspectral data
Tschannerl Julius, Ren Jinchang, McKee David, Marshall Stephen
Hyperspectral Imaging 2016, (2016)

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Research interests

Our group is interested in problems of radiance transfer in seawater, light utilisation by phytoplankton, optical monitoring of ecological processes, and remote sensing in the marine environment. These problems all involve the application of physical principles in an interdisciplinary context. Activities range from in situ measurement of optical properties at sea from ships and other platforms, through radiative transfer simulations of underwater and water leaving light fields, to development of new algorithms for interpretation of ocean colour remote sensing data from satellite-borne sensors.

Professional activities

Invited Talk
NEODAAS (External organisation)
NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility (External organisation)
Invited Talk
Invited Talk
Optics Express (Journal)
Associate Editor

more professional activities


Sustainable harvesting of a patchy resource: aggregation mechanisms and implications for stock size estimates (SEA PATCHES)
McKee, David (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Apr-2017 - 31-Mar-2021
Arctic PRoductivity in the seasonal Ice ZonE (Arctic PriZE)
Banas, Neil (Principal Investigator) McKee, David (Co-investigator)
Period 01-May-2017 - 30-Apr-2021
Cost-effective medical hyperspectral imaging
Marshall, Stephen (Principal Investigator) McConnell, Gail (Co-investigator) McKee, David (Co-investigator) Ren, Jinchang (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Jul-2016 - 30-Jun-2018
ORANGUTRAN - ORbital ANGUlar momentum TRANsmissometer with zero collection angle error
McKee, David (Principal Investigator) Griffin, Paul (Co-investigator) Yao, Alison (Co-investigator)
Period 30-Jun-2016 - 29-Jun-2017
NERC Doctoral Training Grant (NE/I528685/1) | Mitchell, Catherine
McKee, David (Co-investigator) Mitchell, Catherine (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2011 - 22-Apr-2015
Strathclyde-2013-DTG Funding 1 Studentship | Connor, Derek
McKee, David (Principal Investigator) McConnell, Gail (Co-investigator) Connor, Derek (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Apr-2017

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