Deploying oceanographic intruments


I am a satellite oceanographer with a decade of experience developing state-of-the-art bio-optical algorithms for observing aquatic ecosystems.


I work with local and international research institutes across Australia, the United States, and Japan.


I devise innovative spatial analysis tools that are readily applied to Earth observation satellite datasets for monitoring coastal water quality, cyanobacteria blooms, and marine biogeochemistry.

E.: lachlan.mckinna -at- 


Originally from north Queensland, I grew up surrounded by tropical rainforest, beaches, and the Great Barrier Reef. During my youth I developed a curiosity for the natural world, particularly the ocean, and decided to pursue my interests further by studying physical sciences at James Cook University

Upon completing my undergraduate studies, I was awarded a coveted Australian Postgraduate Award and began my PhD studies with AIMS@JCU; a joint venture between James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. During my PhD program, I cut my teeth as an oceanographer by spending time aboard ocean-going research vessels in the Great Barrier Reef where I studied the optical properties of the pelagic cyanobacteria Trichodesmium.

After my PhD, my career has taken me around the World. I have worked at TropWATER, James Cook University; the Remote Sensing & Satellite Research Group, Curtin University; and the Ocean Ecology Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. During this time I have tackled a number of highly challenging scientific problems with esteemed colleagues. My research focuses primarily on observing marine optical properties and learning what they can tell us about oceanic processes and coastal water quality. I am now excited to embark on a new chapter of my career with my startup, Go2Q, where I continue to develop remote sensing solutions.


I have worked on a number of local and international projects and currently collaborate with researchers from Australia, North America, and Japan. I am also an Adjunct Research Fellow at James Cook University where I supervise post-graduate student work.



2007 - 2010

James Cook University

Ph.D. (Physics)


James Cook University

B.Sc. Honours (Statistics)

2002 - 2005

James Cook University

B.Sc. (Mathematics & Physics)


2017 - date

Go2Q Pty Ltd

Director & Lead Oceanographer



2017 - date

James Cook University

Adjunct Research Fellow


  • Remote sensing (passive and active)

  • Earth system science

  • Ocean biology and biogeochemistry

  • Coastal and estuarine processes

  • Hydrologic optics

  • Marine radiative transfer

  • Water quality in coral reefs

  • Trichodesmium blooms

  • Software tools for geospatial datasets

  • Citizen science

  • Science communication



2018 - date

MODIS / VIIRS Science Team


2016 - date

JAXA GCOM Science Team

Principal Investigator

2014 - 2017

NASA PACE Science Team