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Over the past ten years, efforts to characterize the optical properties of Earth's natural waters have largely merged with the need to better understand underlying biological and chemical processes. Fundamental optical properties such as light level, absorption, scattering and fluorescence are now being utilized with increasing effectiveness to specify particulate and dissolved in-water components in a wide range of applications, including detection of harmful algal blooms, studying ecosystem dynamics, monitoring the effect of industrial and agricultural pollutants, and understanding carbon sequestration processes in the oceans. A diverse offering of commercial optical sensing products capable for research, routine measurements, and in some cases, operational monitoring are now available. These technologies have provided the scientific community with a set of tools for developing, testing, and placing into practice analytical and semi-analytical methods to infer specific biogeochemical parameters and processes. As a result, new, more specialized sensors are now emerging. New sensors couple basic optical property measurements with processing algorithms to provide specific indicators for Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) identification, carbon products, nutrients, and particle size distributions. The basic measurement methods are described and examples of devices incorporating them are provided to illustrate their use in modern oceanographic research and monitoring.
The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.