Ultraviolet (UV) fluorescence is a phenomenon that occurs when a substance absorbs UV radiation and emits light. It is used in a variety of fields, including oceanic studies, where it is used to identify and quantify the presence of specific substances in the ocean
UV fluorescence and phytoplankton
One common use of UV fluorescence in oceanic studies is to measure the concentration of phytoplankton, which are small aquatic organisms that are important for the ocean’s food web. Phytoplankton absorb UV radiation and emit fluorescence, which can be measured using UV instruments such as LabSTAF. This allows researchers to track the distribution and abundance of phytoplankton in the ocean, which can provide insight into the health of the marine ecosystem.
UV fluorescence is also used to measure the concentration of dissolved organic matter (FDOM) in seawater. FDOM is a complex mixture of organic compounds that is produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the ocean. It is important for the ocean’s carbon cycle, as it can absorb and release carbon dioxide. UV fluorescence can be used to measure the concentration of FDOM in seawater, which can help researchers understand how it is affecting the ocean’s carbon cycle.
In addition to measuring the concentration of specific substances in the ocean, UV fluorescence can also be used to study the physical and chemical properties of seawater. For example, it can be used to measure the absorption and scattering of UV radiation in seawater, which can provide information about the water’s temperature, salinity, and other properties.
UV fluorescence underwater
UV fluorescence is also used in the study of marine organisms, such as coral and algae. Some marine organisms have fluorescence pigments that can be used to identify and classify them. This can be useful for understanding the distribution and abundance of these organisms in the ocean, as well as their role in the marine ecosystem. Fluorescence is a common trait among marine organisms, and many species of coral, algae, and fish are known to exhibit fluorescence. Some examples of fluorescent marine organisms include:
- Coral: Many species of coral, including stony coral and soft coral, are fluorescent.
- Algae: Some species of algae, such as dinoflagellates, are fluorescent and can create colorful displays in the ocean at night.
- Fish: Some species of fish, such as cardinalfish and certain species of damselfish, are fluorescent.
- Jellyfish: Some species of jellyfish, such as the crystal jelly, are fluorescent.
- Crustaceans: Some species of crustaceans, such as certain types of shrimp and crabs, are fluorescent.
- Mollusks: Some species of mollusks, such as certain types of snails and slugs, are fluorescent.
- Anemones: Some species of anemones, such as the fluorescent anemone, are fluorescent.
- Sponges: Some species of sponges are fluorescent, including certain types of glass sponges and tube sponges.
Advantage of UV fluorescence
Overall, UV fluorescence is a valuable tool for oceanic studies, as it allows researchers to identify and quantify the presence of specific substances in the ocean, as well as study the physical and chemical properties of seawater and the biology of marine organisms. It is sensitive, fast, and easy to use, and can provide valuable insights into the ocean’s ecosystem and climate.