Bioluminescence in a complex coastal environment: 1. Temporal dynamics of nighttime water-leaving radiance

Mark A. Moline, Matthew J. Oliver, Curtis D. Mobley, Lydia Sundman, Thomas Bensky, Trisha Bergmann, W. Paul Bissett, James Case, Erika H. Raymond, Oscar M.E. Schofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Nighttime water-leaving radiance is a function of the depth-dependent distribution of both the in situ bioluminescence emissions and the absorption and scattering properties of the water. The vertical distributions of these parameters were used as inputs for a modified one-dimensional radiative transfer model to solve for spectral bioluminescence water-leaving radiance from prescribed depths of the water column. Variation in the water-leaving radiance was consistent with local episodic physical forcing events, with tidal forcing, terrestrial runoff, particulate accumulation, and biological responses influencing the shorter timescale dynamics. There was a >90 nm shift in the peak water-leaving radiance from blue (∼474 nm) to green as light propagated to the surface. In addition to clues in ecosystem responses to physical forcing, the temporal dynamics in intensity and spectral quality of water-leaving radiance provide suitable ranges for assessing detection. This may provide the information needed to estimate the depth of internal light sources in the ocean, which is discussed in part 2 of this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC11016
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 8 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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