A new optical sensor based on covalent immobilization of a newly synthesized calcium-selective, long-wavelength, fluorescent indicator has been constructed, with a response dynamic range optimal for physiological measurements. Immobilization occurs via photoinitiated copolymerization of the indicator with acrylamide on the distal end of a silanized 125 micrograms diameter multimode optical fiber. The working lifetime of this sensor is limited only by photobleaching of the indicator. Due to the inherent hydrophilic nature of the acrylamide polymer, the response time of this new sensor is governed by simple aqueous diffusion of the ionic calcium. This results in sensor response times fast enough to monitor some concentration fluctuations at physiological rates. The ability to monitor calcium concentration fluctuations in a high background level of magnesium is also demonstrated with a calculated selectivity of 10(-4.5).