Proceedings PaperMicroplankton And Optical Variability In The Sea: Fundamental Relationships
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Several fundamental relationships appear to be important for the interpretation of biological and optical measurements made at sea: 1. The growth of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria supports the entire planktonic community and such growth can only occur by the absorp-tion of light downwelling through the water column. 2. Suspended marine particles are the major source of optical variability in the open ocean and many coastal waters. 3. The numerical concentration of particles of a given size varies as the inverse fourth power of the particles' diameter, thus small cells and detritus are major sources of light scattering and absorption. Since these small particles have relatively low indices of refraction, the complexity of applying Mie Lorentz theory is diminished. 4. For pathlengths of 1 m or less the attenuance of collimated light is sufficiently low so that measurements can be interpreted in terms of single scattering. 5. The efficiency with which light absorbed by a phytoplankter is converted into cellular material appears to be predictable, dependent only upon ambient light intensities. These relationships were then used to examine changes in the absorption and scattering properties of particles within the water column.