Lasers and Their Applications

Optics and Spectroscopy

, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 471-477

Compact low-cost detector for in vivo assessment of microphytobenthos using laser induced fluorescence

  • A. B. UtkinAffiliated withINOV-INESC InovaçãoICEMS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon Email author 
  • , S. VieiraAffiliated withCentro de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaBioFIG, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaDepartamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
  • , J. Marques da SilvaAffiliated withBioFIG, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaDepartamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
  • , A. LavrovAffiliated withINOV-INESC InovaçãoICEMS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon
  • , E. LeiteAffiliated withINOV-INESC InovaçãoICEMS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon
  • , P. CartaxanaAffiliated withCentro de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa

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Abstract

The development of a compact low-cost detector for non-destructive assessment of microphytobenthos using laser induced fluorescence was described. The detector was built from a specially modified commercial miniature fiber optic spectrometer (Ocean Optics USB4000). Its usefulness is experimentally verified by the study of diatom-dominated biofilms inhabiting the upper layers of intertidal sediments of the Tagus Estuary, Portugal. It is demonstrated that, operating with a laser emitter producing 30 mJ pulses at the wavelength of 532 nm, the detector is capable to record fluorescence signals with sufficient intensity for the quantitative biomass characterization of the motile epipelic microphytobenthic communities and to monitor their migratory activity. This paves the way for building an entire emitter-detector LIF system for microphytobenthos monitoring, which will enable microalgae communities occupying hardly accessible intertidal flats to be monitored in vivo at affordable cost.