Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 2, pp 467–481 | Cite as

Broad-band versus narrow-band irradiance for estimating latitude by archival tags

  • Hisham A. Qayum
  • A. Peter KlimleyEmail author
  • Ronald Newton
  • John E. Richert
Research Article


The relative effectiveness of different bands of irradiance to estimate the latitude of archival tags was evaluated. These tags are placed on fishes in order to describe their movements during long distance migrations. Measurements were recorded of broad-band irradiance with and without a cosine collector and narrow-band irradiance of seven narrow bands with 50% attenuation 30 nm on either side of their central wavelength of 400 (violet), 450 (blue), 500 (blue–green), 550 (green), 600 (yellow), 650 (orange), and 700 nm (red). A holographic, cosine collector was used to reduce the vertical transmission of irradiance to the sensor and to increase horizontal transmission of irradiance so the sensor detected more of the diffuse irradiance penetrating the water at dawn and dusk. Daily measurements were made during seven periods of 1–2 days each, beginning 28 June (after 21 June solstice) and ending on 6 October 1999 (after September 23 equinox) of submarine irradiance at 15-s intervals at a fixed depth (10 m) and location (38.31°N; 123.08°W) in Horseshoe Cove, California. Irradiance transmission at this site is intermediate between the clearest offshore waters, where blue irradiance (450 nm) penetrates farther with depth than green irradiance (550 nm) and most oceanic and coastal waters, where green penetrates farther than blue irradiance. Two algorithms were used to estimate latitude, the maximum slope method and the maximum logarithmic difference method. The broad-band, cosine-corrected light, excluding those deployments near the equinox when error is highest, produced an estimate of latitude of 38.30° for both methods and a latitudinal error of ±34.4 km for the former and ±27.2 km for the latter. The mean latitudinal error for non-cosine-collected, broad-band irradiance was ±190.9 km, using the slope algorithm and ±184.8 km using the difference algorithm. The blue band of irradiance, which attenuates least with increasing depth in clear, oceanic water, also produced a comparatively high-latitudinal error of ±163.8 km error for the former algorithm and ±170.4 km for the latter algorithm. Tag designers should consider using cosine-collectors over the irradiance sensors on their archival tags to increase the accuracy of position estimates.


Latitudinal Variance Irradiance Intensity Solar Angle Irradiance Measurement Autumnal Equinox 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by a grant to APK by the National Undersea Research Program (NOAA) and the Marine Technology Program of the National Science Foundation. Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP) with direction from B.Block, kindly paid for the curves of spectral intensity to be reproduced in their corresponding colors. We appreciated the assistance of S. Beavers, T. Curtis, and S. Jorgensen during various phases of the study. We want to thank David Welch, who openly reviewed an earlier version, and four anonymous reviewers, who vastly improved this article. H. Fastenau, T. McCrumman, and K. Menard deployed the radiometer underwater at two-week intervals during the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hisham A. Qayum
    • 1
  • A. Peter Klimley
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ronald Newton
    • 3
  • John E. Richert
    • 2
  1. 1.Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies, Hatfield Marine Science CenterOregon State UniversityNewportUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Tahoe Research and DevelopmentCarson CityUSA

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