Inherent and apparent optical properties as measured in case 1 waters often deviate in seemingly random ways from values predicted by bio-optical models that parameterize the microbial composition of the water in terms of the chlorophyll concentration alone. We believe that this `random' variability in optical properties can be explained in terms of variability in the detailed microbial composition of the water, and we outline a research program for testing this hypothesis. Our approach combines laboratory experiments on monospecific microbial cultures, Mie scattering calculations, and radiative transfer numerical modeling. This approach also provides a unique means for improving bio-optical models and for developing new optical methods or algorithms for the study of biological processes in the upper ocean. We present here a few examples from preliminary results of this work. These examples show selected measures of the underwater light field for a hypothetical ocean that consists of pure water, viruses, heterotrophic bacteria, cyanobacteria, and small diatoms as optically significant components.
Curtis D. Mobley,
"Influences of microbial particles on oceanic optics", Proc. SPIE 2258, Ocean Optics XII, (26 October 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.190062; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.190062