Laboratory measurements of angular distributions of light scattered by phytoplankton and silt
Limnol. Oceanogr., 43(6), 1998, 1180-1197 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.19188.8.131.520
ABSTRACT: We present laboratory measurements of scattering properties of 15 different types of coastal and inland water phytoplankton species and two types of estuarine sediments. These properties are the scattering function as well as the angular distribution of a ratio of scattering matrix elements, which in practice equals the degree of linear polarization of the scattered light if the incident light is unpolarized. Laser light with a wavelength of 633 nm was used, and a scattering angle range from 20° to 60° was covered. The results can be used in the context of water quality studies and to test results of theoretical models. The measured scattering functions are all strongly peaked in forward directions, but not equally so. For the covered angles, they vary significantly as a function of scattering angle. The measured angular distributions of the degree of linear polarization are mostly bell shaped, showing a maximum near 90°, whose magnitude is clearly different for the phytoplankton compared to the silt particles. We find that the morphology and structural features of the particles studied play an important and complex role in their light-scattering behavior. In particular, internal cell structures such as gas vacuoles alter the scattering patterns of the phytoplankton species considerably. The external shape of the cells appears to have a much smaller influence. The experimental results are compared with results of Mie calculations and with the standard scattering function of San Diego Harbor water. In most cases, Mie calculations cannot provide an adequate approximation of the measured scattering behavior, which indicates that more sophisticated models are required. Only 3 of the 17 measured scattering functions resemble the San Diego Harbor standard scattering function. One of these pertains to small silt particles, showing that this function is representative for water dominated by these particles.