A new submersible optical instrument has been constructed which allows chlorophyll fluorescence, attenuation and wide- angle scattering measurements to be made simultaneously at he same point in a body of water. The instrument sues a single xenon flashlamp as the light source, and incorporates its own power supply and microprocessor based data logging system. It has ben cross-calibrated against commercial single-parameter instruments using a range of non-algal particles and phytoplankton cultures. The equipment has been deployed at sea in the Firth of Clyde and Loch Linnhe, where is has been used to study seasonal variability in optical water column structure. Results will be presented to illustrate how ambiguity in the interpretation of measurements of a single optical parameter can be alleviated by measuring several parameters simultaneously. Comparative studies of differences in winter and spring relationships between optical variable shave also ben carried out.