Aquatic Vision and the Modulation Transfer Properties of Unlighted and Diffusely Lighted Natural-Waters

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1993
Authors:W. S. Jagger, Muntz W. R. A.
Journal:Vision Research
Date Published:Sep
ISBN Number:0042-6989
Accession Number:ISI:A1993LK97500003

The modulation transfer function (MTF) of well-mixed unlighted and diffusely lighted samples of clear natural waters for path lengths up to 4 m was measured. The measuring conditions simulated the situation for horizontal aquatic vision. In unlighted water, the MTF decreased relatively slowly with increasing path length and spatial frequency up to 150 c/deg. We interpret this as the result of low-angle forward scattering of light from the target. For diffusely lighted water, the MTF fell much more rapidly with path length, but was nearly independent of spatial frequency. ''ere, scattering of ambient light into the light path contributes an additional veiling glare or path radiance, which is independent of spatial frequency but degrades the MTF strongly with increasing path length. These scattering processes are independent of wavelength in the visible spectrum. The modulation transfer properties of these waters do not preclude high aquatic visual acuity. However, the useful range of high acuity vision in diffusely lighted water is much less than for unlighted water. This places special requirements upon the design of high-acuity aquatic eyes.

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