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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4(4), 80; doi:10.3390/jmse4040080

Modeling Water Clarity and Light Quality in Oceans

Atlantic Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882, USA
Academic Editor: Richard P. Signell
Received: 20 July 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 November 2016 / Published: 24 November 2016
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Abstract

Phytoplankton is a primary producer of organic compounds, and it forms the base of the food chain in ocean waters. The concentration of phytoplankton in the water column controls water clarity and the amount and quality of light that penetrates through it. The availability of adequate light intensity is a major factor in the health of algae and phytoplankton. There is a strong negative coupling between light intensity and phytoplankton concentration (e.g., through self-shading by the cells), which reduces available light and in return affects the growth rate of the cells. Proper modeling of this coupling is essential to understand primary productivity in the oceans. This paper provides the methodology to model light intensity in the water column, which can be included in relevant water quality models. The methodology implements relationships from bio-optical models, which use phytoplankton chlorophyll a (chl-a) concentration as a surrogate for light attenuation, including absorption and scattering by other attenuators. The presented mathematical methodology estimates the reduction in light intensity due to absorption by pure seawater, chl-a pigment, non-algae particles (NAPs) and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), as well as backscattering by pure seawater, phytoplankton particles and NAPs. The methods presented facilitate the prediction of the effects of various environmental and management scenarios (e.g., global warming, altered precipitation patterns, greenhouse gases) on the wellbeing of phytoplankton communities in the oceans as temperature-driven chl-a changes take place. View Full-Text
Keywords: modeling; irradiance; oceans; phytoplankton modeling; irradiance; oceans; phytoplankton
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Abdelrhman, M.A. Modeling Water Clarity and Light Quality in Oceans. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4, 80.

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