This paper will discuss and compare some recent oceanic test results from the Bahamas Optical Turbulence Exercise (BOTEX) cruise, where vertical profiling was conducted with both time-resolved laser backscatter measurements being acquired via a subsurface light detection and ranging (lidar) profiling instrument, and laser beam forward deflection measurements were acquired from a matrix of continuous wave (cw) laser beams (i.e. structured lighting) being imaged in the forward direction with a high speed camera over a one-way path, with both transmitter and camera firmly fixed on a rigid frame. From the latter, it was observed that when within a natural turbulent layer, the laser beams were being deflected from their still water location at the image plane, which was 8.8 meters distance from the laser dot matrix transmitter. As well as suggesting that the turbulent structures being encountered were predominately larger than the beam diameter, the magnitude of the deflection has been confirmed to correlate with the temperature dissipation rate. The profiling lidar measurements which were conducted in similar conditions, also used a narrow collimated laser beam in order to resolve small-scale spatial structure, but with the added attribute that sub-nanosecond short pulse temporal profile could potentially resolve small-scale vertical structure. In the clear waters of the Tongue of the Ocean in the Bahamas, it was hypothesized that the backscatter anomalies due to the effect of refractive index discontinuities (i.e. mixed layer turbulence) would be observable. The processed lidar data presented herein indicates that higher backscatter levels were observed in the regions of the water column which corresponded to higher turbulent mixing which occurs at the first and second themoclines. At the same test stations that the laser beam matrix and lidar measurements were conducted, turbulence measurements were made with two non-optical instruments, the Vertical Microstructure Profiler (VMP) and a 3D acoustical Doppler velocimeter with fast conductivity and temperature probes. The turbulence kinetic energy dissipation rate and the temperature dissipation rates were calculated from both these setups in order to characterize the physical environments and corroborate with the laser measurements. To further investigate the utility of elastic lidar in detecting small-scale turbulent structures, controlled laboratory experiments were also conducted, with the objective of concurrently acquiring both the laser beam spatial characteristics in the forward direction and the laser backscatter temporal profile from each transmitted sub-nanosecond pulse. An artificial refractive index discontinuity was generated in clear test tank conditions by placing a clean ice-filled carboy above the laser beam propagation path. The results from both field and laboratory experiments confirm our hypothesis that turbulent layers are detectable by lidar sensors, and motivates that more research and lidar instrumentation development is needed to better quantify turbulence, especially for mitigating associated performance degrading effects for the U.S. Navy’s next generation electro-optic (EO) systems, including active laser imaging and laser communications.