Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 06 Issue 03

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Volume 06, No. 3
Pages 105 - 111

Resolution of Biological Microstructure Through In Situ Fluorescence Emission Spectra: An Oceanographic Application Using Optical Fibers

Timothy J. CowlesRussell A. Desiderio
First Paragraph

One of the challenges we face as oceanographers is the wide range of spatial and temporal scales over which we must measure the physical, biological, and chemical properties and processes in the ocean. The constraints of available technologies have required discrete sample collection with bottles or nets to define the distribution of bulk biological and chemical properties and processes. These sampling constraints have confined us to a relatively coarse-scale resolution of the biological and chemical characteristics of the upper ocean. In contrast, physical oceanographic instrumentation has provided definition of temperature, salinity, and density over a much wider range of spatial scales, from centimeters (microscale) to thousands of kilometers (basin scale). This mismatch in sampling resolution between physical and biological/chemical properties is particularly critical at the microscale, where it is likely that biological and chemical distributions and processes are constrained by finescale and microscale physical processes. It is, therefore, critical to our understanding of the linkages between small-scale physics, biology, and chemistry that we address this mismatch in sampling scales through new approaches to instrumentation to measure biological microstructure.


Cowles, T.J., and R.A. Desiderio. 1993. Resolution of biological microstructure through in situ fluorescence emission spectra: An oceanographic application using optical fibers. Oceanography 6(3):105–111, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1993.05.