Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Moss Landing Marine Laboratories


Particle and dissolved absorption, ap and ay, and particle scattering, bp, coefficients were determined using an AC-9 and particle backscattering, bbp, coefficients were measured with a HydroScat-6, along a section of the central California coast. The composition (whether living algal cells, detritus, or dissolved material), relative concentration of particulate and dissolved material and relative particle size distribution were determined from optical profiles within and below the mixed layer in coastal waters and within and below the mixed layer in oceanic waters. Within the coastal mixed layer, the dominant constituent was living algal cells as evidenced by a strong chlorophyll spectrum, a high ap:ay ratio (66:34, n=5, s=10.0), and a system dominated by larger particles (bbp/bp(488 nm) = [0.01] and γ = 0.5 (gamma, γ, is the slope relating the backscattering coefficient to the wavelength). Below the coastal mixed layer, detritus and dissolved material became more important: ap:ay ratio was relatively lower (45:55, n=5, s=9.3) and the system was dominated by smaller particles (bbp/bp(488 nm) = 0.03 and γ = [1-1.3]). In oceanic waters, constituents were equally comprised of living algal cells and dissolved material (ap:ay = 55:45) and the system was dominated by smaller particles (γ = 1.3). Below the oceanic mixed layer dissolved and detritus became more important once passed the subsurface chlorophyll maximum.


Thesis (M.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories