A Workplan for the Continued Operation, Maintenance, and Enhancement of SEAKEYS

Principal Investigator(s):

John C. Ogden and Sandra Vargo
Florida Institute of Oceanography
830 First Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (813) 893-9100

Chris Humphrey and Trent Moore
Keys Marine Laboratory
Long Key, Florida
Phone: (305) 664-9101

James C. Hendee
Ocean Chemistry Division
Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149-1026

Robert Timko
National Data Buoy Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Stennis Space Center, MS


The Florida Institute of Oceanography's (FIO) SEAKEYS (Sustained Ecological Research Related to Management of the Florida Keys Seascape) program began in 1989 and has continued until the present. This program, now being supported through NOAA's South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, Prediction and Modeling Program (SFERPM), implements a framework for long-term monitoring and research along the 220 mile Florida coral reef tract and in Florida Bay at a geographical scale encompassing the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The impetus for such a framework was the perceived marked regional decline in coral reefs and the critical need to provide data and options for resource management. The network consists of six instrument-enhanced Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations, cooperatively managed with NOAA's National Data Buoy Center, plus a proposed new one in northwest Florida Bay. These stations measure the usual C-MAN meteorological parameters, such as wind speed, gusts and barometric pressure, but are enhanced with oceanographic instruments measuring salinity, sea temperature, in vivo fluorescence and turbidity.


The existing stations at Fowey Rocks, Molasses, Sombrero, Sand Key, Dry Tortugas, and Long Key have all been upgraded. Falmouth Scientific CTDs recording units are deployed at all sites. The addition of instruments to measure in vivo fluorescence, turbidity, and water level is complete but there are some difficulties in accessing the new data. The NDBC has replaced the satellite-linked data transmission package (VEEP) with an updated version (MARS) which will handle these additional parameters. Additional programming by the NDBC is underway to allow the MARS to transmit the data being collected.

The station in northwest Florida Bay (25B O5' 00" N, 81B 05'00" W) was installed as a cooperative effort between the Department of Marine Science, University of South Florida, FIO, and NOAA. The station pilings and platform were installed in March 1998 by the U.S. Coast Guard. The instrument package for this station, standard meteorological instruments and oceanographic sensors were tested in St. Petersburg and then deployed in August 1998. The station will provide data on air temperature, incident solar radiation, humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, surface temperature, temperature and conductivity at 1 m depth, in vivo fluorescence, turbidity, and water level. The station platform IDs have been received at DMS and programming of the satellite down link is underway. Station data should be available to the CHAMP homepage in October 1998.


In FY99 all upgrades will be completed (primarily reprogramming of the satellite-data transmission units) and backup sensors will be purchased minimizing the time off-line for any single station. Software improvements will be a principal focus of the data processing side of the project.

The principal deliverables of this project in FY98 included the upgrading of all the stations, completion of the installation and instrumentation of the NW Florida Bay station and, third, the coding and initial testing of a neural net expert system utilizing these in cooperation with the FKNMS to assist them in predicting events such as coral-bleaching.