Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Violeta Sanjuan Calzado


Violeta Sanjuan Calzado's Contact Card & Information.
Org Code: 616
Mail Code 616
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Sanjuan Calzado graduated in 2009 with a PhD in Ocean Optics at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, supervised by Prof. Ian Robinson. In 2009, she began working at the NATO Underwater Research Center, NURC (now CMRE) as a Post Doctoral Scientist, and in 2014, she started working as a Research Scientist. From 2015-2019, she led the Ocean Optics Program at NATO developing and executing the scientific program, leading sea trials and advising the Scientific Committee at NATO.


Senior Scientist

Universities Space Research Association - NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, USA

November 2018 - Present

Project Lead for Oeean Optics Program

Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation NATO - La Spezia, Italy

June 2014 - June 2017

Project Lead for Ocean Optics within the Environmental Knowledge and Operational Effectiveness Program at CMRE NATO. Developing and executing the optics program including planning and execution of sea trials. Some activities include:
- Optics expert for the Maritime Scientific Technical Committee of NATO.
- Scientist in charge ALOMEx’15 experiment, covering Alboran Sea and Saharan Upwelling with international media coverage.
- Co-scientist in charge for ALOMEX’15 pier demonstration: Brillouin scattering LIDAR.
- Concept design and development of unmanned optical platforms for optical surveillance.
- Optical buoy design with radiometry and IOP’s measurements for closure exercise
- Cal/val radiometric study in the Saharan upwelling with extreme optical signature.
- Environmental characterization for optical communication systems.
- Mentoring MSc and PhD students
- Hosting visiting scientists.

Project Manager and Science Leader for OSS2015

Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation NATO - La Spezia, Italy.

November 2011 - June 2014

Ocean Strategic Services 2015 (OSS2015) is a European Framework Project 7 focused on forecasting ocean physical and biogeochemical properties and generation of ocean satellite products. Within OSS2015, CMRE led the development of a coupled optical-physical-biogeochemical model with our project partners in Turkey and in the U.K. Some of my activities included:
- Development of an inverse radiative transfer equation model, inverting the radiant field into light absorption and scattering coupled with an optical-physical-biogeochemical model. Included the development of an inverse function to be coupled with radiative transfer models C-DISORT and HYDROLIGHT.
- Co-scientist in charge for LLOMEx’13 Sea Trial in March 2013, including data collection, processing in-situ optical data and generation of LLOMEx’13 database.
- Scientific coordinator with project partners in Turkey and the U.K.
- Hosting visiting researchers Dr. Knut Stamnes, creator of radiative transfer model C-DISORT, and Dr. Georges Fournier, developer of the Fournier-Fourand phase function.
- Overall project coordinator for CMRE. Reporting and liaison with project coordinator for quarterly reports and annual report.

Scientist in Ocean Optics

Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation NATO - La Spezia, Italy

August 2009 - November 2011

Funded within NRL project “Developing the Operational Cal/Val Components for NPOESS Ocean Environmental Data Records”.
- Development of the RPS (Radiometer Processing Software) software for satellite and in-situ data to provide the best estimates of water-leaving radiances with uncertainties for comparison with VIIRS satellite measurements.
- QA/QC of radiometric data and protocols.
- Model development for predicting water-leaving radiances from VIIRS under cloudy conditions for extending areal coverage.
- Advisor on optical data acquisition with gliders, quality control and data formats.
- Hosting visiting scientist Michael Twardowski, working on the deconvolution of absorption and backscattering signatures into individual absorption and scattering signatures from each optically active constituent in the water, within the framework of the OPERA concept.
- Meeting organizer for OPS (Optical Processes Symposium), CMRE March 2010.


PhD in Ocean Optics and Bio-Optical Modeling. 2009.
Dissertation: Bio-Optical Modeling for Ecosystems in Case II water. Supervisor: Ian Robinson.


BSc/MSc Oceanography 2004 Dissertation: Oceanographic Engineering; Modeling of extreme events in the North East coast of Gran Canaria.


Professional Societies

The Oceanography Society

2010 - Present

American Geophysical Union

2009 - Present


2009. Student travel award, The Oceanography Society. U.S.
2009. Student travel award, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences. University of Southampton. U.K.

2009. World University Network (WUN) Research Mobility Program. Scripps Institution of Oceanography. University of California San Diego. USA.
2004. Student grant. PhD studies. University of Southampton. U.K.
2001. Student travel award. LIFE Sea Turtle conservation. Cape Verde.
1999. Student grant. Undergraduate studies. Ministry of Education, Spain.
1995. Student grant. Undergraduate studies. Ministry of Education, Spain.


Ocean Strategic Services 2015 - Framework Program 7. European Comission - Awarded: 2011-01-10

Dates: 2015-01-12  - 2015-01-12

Amount 2.000.000 euro



2024. "Phytoplankton composition from sPACE: Requirements, opportunities, and challenges." Remote Sensing of Environment 302 (1): 113964 [10.1016/j.rse.2023.113964] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "ISR Implementation of ocean optics protocols to estimate spectral absorption coefficients of particles, suspended matters and phytoplankton pigments in ALOMEx'15 water samples: results and comparisons with satellite measurements." CMRE Memorandum Report (MR series). NATO Unclassified. [CMRE-MR-2016-021] [Report]

2016. "Optical payloads for unmanned systems." CMRE Technical Progress Report. NATO Unclassified. [CMRE-MR-2016-008] [Report]

2016. "Development and performance of optical payloads in the wave glider." CMRE Technical Report Series. NATO Unclassified. [Report]

2015. "Extending satellite remote sensing from the surface to the subsurface: ALOMEx’15 optical buoy deployment." CMRE Technical Progress Report (TRP). NATO Unclassified [Report]

2015. "ALOMEx’15 (Atlantic Sea LIDAR & Optical Measurement Experiment 2015) trial plan." CMRE Cruise Test Plans (TP series) CMRE-TP-2015-10-ALOMEX15 – NATO Unclassified. [Report]

2014. "A review of the state of the art of Brillouin scattering LIDAR to determine vertical ocean profiles of sound speed and temperature." CMRE Formal Report (FR series). NATO Unclassified. [CMRE-FR-2014-008] [Report]

2014. "Coupled forward and inverse radiative transfer modelling." CMRE Formal Report (FR series). NATO Unclassified. [Report]

2014. "Impact of measurement uncertainties on determination of chlorophyll‐specific absorption coefficient for marine phytoplankton." Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Implications of a new phase function for autonomous underwater imaging." Ocean Sensing and Monitoring VI 9111 911119 [Proceedings]

2013. "Coupling ocean colour remote sensing data into physical-ecosystem models: mapping uncertainty distributions from space." EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts 15 [Proceedings]


2012. "Optical physical and ecosystem regional modeling assessment (OPERA): a revolutionary approach." Ocean Optics XXI. Glasgow [Proceedings]

2012. "Sensitivity analysis for a spectral deconvolution approach for interpretation of ocean colour remote sensing in Case 2 waters." EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts 14 13896 [Proceedings]

2010. "Improving Optics-Physics-Biology Coupling in Ocean Ecosystem Models: Optical Physical and Ecosystem Regional Assessment (OPERA) Workshop; La Spezia, Italy, 14--16 December 2009." Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 91 (16): 144--144 [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Bio-optical modeling for ecosystems in case II waters." PhD thesis [Book]

2009. "Role of measurement uncertainties in observed variability in the spectral backscattering ratio: a case study in mineral-rich coastal waters." Applied Optics 48 (24): 4663--4675 [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "The application of satellite ocean colour data to marine ecosystem models." Report D2 3 [Report]