Field experiments with the goal of characterizing aquatic particle properties, including size distributions and orientations in their natural environment, were conducted using a submersible holographic imaging system (HOLOCAM). Digital holography is a non-intrusive technique that allows particle fields to be mapped within a 3-D sampling volume at high resolution. The HOLOCAM was deployed at East Sound, a fjord in the US Pacific Northwest, and Lake Erie over three separate deployments from 2013 to 2015. A database of more than a million particles in the 100-10000 µm size range of varying shape and orientation was created after processing < 50,000 holograms. Furthermore, simultaneous, co-located acoustic Doppler velocimeter measurements of small-scale shear and turbulence structure were used to study the effects of the ambient flow field on particle orientation. Several interesting features presented themselves, with a Microcystis bloom dominating the surface layer of Lake Erie, while ‘thin layers’ of high particle concentrations dominated by colonial diatoms were seen in East Sound. Particle size distribution (PSD) slopes in the 50-250 µm size range were ~1.7-1.9, while for particles < 250 µm, the slopes were significantly higher. Clear evidence of ubiquitous particle alignment to the horizontal flow field in regions of low shear and turbulent dissipation was seen. This result, obtained under flow conditions representative of coastal and open oceans, can have significant consequences to ocean optics as random particle orientation is inherently assumed in theory and models. Preferential alignment can increase/decrease optical properties such as backscattering and attenuation relative to random distributions.
Aditya R. Nayak, Malcolm N. McFarland, Nicole D. Stockley, Michael S. Twardowski, and James M. Sullivan, "In situ particle characterization and evidence of ubiquitous particle orientation in the ocean using a submersible holographic imaging system (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10186, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring IX, 101860C (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 11, 2017; Published: 7 June 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262880.5458109085001.
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