The effect of bottom substrate on inherent optical properties: Evidence of biogeochemical processes

Boss, Emmanuel, J. Ronald V. Zaneveld

Limnol. Oceanogr., 48(1_part_2), 2003, 346-354 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2003.48.1_part_2.0346

ABSTRACT: Measurements of inherent optical properties (IOP) were conducted over bottoms with different substrates by use of a sampling package mounted on and operated by a SCUBA diver. It was found that in areas of low ambient currents the distribution of IOP varies with bottom type in (1) its value relative to a nearby bottom of different type, (2) its vertical gradient, and (3) its variability. This implies that radiative transfer modeling in shallow environments may need to include, besides the bottom characteristics, the bottom effect on in-water IOP. In tidally flushed shallow banks, vertical and horizontal gradients over scales of O(1, 10 m), respectively, are as large as temporal gradients over scales of minutes and cannot be separated in our measurements. However, bottom-substrate-related processes over the banks result in gradients over large horizontal spatial scales and tidal timescales. The distribution of IOP is consistent with several biogeochemical processes that may be active at a given bottom substrate and suggest that optical measurements may provide a useful tool to infer and quantify bulk rates of biogeochemical processes.

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