SEAKEYS/C-MAN Field Operations

With complete award of this contract in August 1997 we commenced the full effort to upgrade the existing stations and development of the new station in northwest Florida Bay. Initial equipment orders (Falmouth Scientific Conductivity-Temperature (CT) recorders and WetLabs fluorometer and transmissometer) were placed in July under a grant underwrite from University of South Florida to expedite these activities. The progress from August 1 through November 30, 1997 is summarized in the following sections.

Repair and Upgrade Existing Stations

Efforts continued in August to upgrade the existing stations at Fowey Rocks, Molasses, Sombrero, Sand Key, Dry Tortugas, and Long Key. Meetings among Principal Investigators from FIO, AOML and NDBC resulted in a constructive redesign and reimplementation of the existing network, including testing of the new WetLabs fluorometer and transmissometer sensors before deployment at the Sombrero and Long Key stations.

At the Sombrero station, which has not relayed oceanographic data for three years, the SEAKEYS staff installed a new main cable and a Hydrolab H-20. They also assisted the NDBC technician in replacing the meteorological sensors and installed new batteries. Oceanographic data is now available for this station. Initial difficulties with the posting on the CHAMP electronic bulletin board were rectified quickly and meteorological and oceanographic data is now available to users from all six stations.

During fall maintenance of the stations we found that the FSI CT units and the Seabird CT units were much less of a problem than the Hydrolab H-20 with regard to biofouling and sensor drift.

Unfortunately, the Dry Tortugas station has begun showing intermittent data recording from the 3m instrument array, apparently due to cable failure between the instrument and the transmission equipment. New cables with SEACON (WETCON) connectors have been prepared in cooperation with AOML staff to replace these, just as soon as logistics can be worked out with the National Park Service staff at Fort Jefferson.

Installation of a New Station in Northwest Florida Bay

A complete SEAKEYS monitoring station has been planned for northwest Florida Bay in cooperation with the West Florida Shelf monitoring program at the Department of Marine Science, University of South Florida. After a survey by Tom Lee, the physical oceanography researchers for Florida Bay have agreed upon a location at 25o 05'00" N, 81o 05'30" W. The application for a Private Aid to Navigation was filed (8/4/97) with the Miami Coast Guard District for this location.

The planned structure is a five-pilings type with an approximately 6' X 7' platform on top with enclosures for the electronics and data logging/transmission equipment and the meteorological sensors. The in-water sensors will be mounted on one of the pilings. The platform construction, based on drawings supplied by the NDBC, is very similar to the platform on the Long Key station. The St. Petersburg USCG Aids-to-Navigation group will do the installation. They will install it as soon as possible but they require a window of low winds of approximately a week, which realistically may mean a March/April installation.

Page Updated 1/25/98
by Jim Hendee