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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 39, Iss. 36 — Dec. 20, 2000
  • pp: 6725–6737

Determination of the fluorescence quantum yield by oceanic phytoplankton in their natural habitat

Stéphane Maritorena, André Morel, and Bernard Gentili  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 39, Issue 36, pp. 6725-6737 (2000)

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Sun-stimulated chlorophyll a fluorescence has been measured in situ, within the upward and downward light fields, in oceanic waters with chlorophyll concentrations of 0.04–3 mg m-3. We combined these signals with phytoplankton absorption spectra to derive the fluorescence quantum yield, ϕ (number of photons emitted by fluorescence/number of absorbed photons). ϕ was derived separately from hyperspectral (upward and downward) irradiance measurements (with a LI-COR Instruments spectroradiometer) and from nadir radiance near 683 nm (with a Biospherical Instruments profiler). The contribution of inelastic Raman scattering to the signal in the red band was assessed and subtracted. Raman-corrected ϕ values derived from the two instruments compared well. Vertical ϕ profiles were strongly structured, with maximal (5–6%) values at depth, whereas ϕ was ≅1% in near-surface waters (measurements made approximately at solar noon). These near-surface values are needed for interpretation of remotely sensed fluorescence signals. This optical study shows that the fluorescence yield of algae in their natural environment can be accurately derived in a nonintrusive way with available instrumentation and adequate protocols.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(260.2510) Physical optics : Fluorescence

Original Manuscript: March 16, 2000
Revised Manuscript: September 20, 2000
Published: December 20, 2000

Stéphane Maritorena, André Morel, and Bernard Gentili, "Determination of the fluorescence quantum yield by oceanic phytoplankton in their natural habitat," Appl. Opt. 39, 6725-6737 (2000)

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