The need for new instruments to measure the optical properties of natural waters, at higher spectral resolutions than existing commercial instruments, has become apparent in recent years. Such instruments will be required to support the calibration of the next generation of remote sensing platforms by providing in-situ measurements of the optical light field In addition, high resolution spectral measurements will also support the development of optical closure models which are used to date the observed optical properties of the water to its biological and geological content. This paper describes the design and construction of a flexible, general purpose, high resolution underwater spectrometer which can be re-configured to perform a variety of optical measurements using interchangeable, optical fibre based sensor heads. Typical results obtained during the first deployment of the instrument at sea are also presented
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