Progress Summary


April 16, 1998 - April 15, 1999


PIs:      John C. Ogden

Sandra L. Vargo

Florida Institute of Oceanography

830 First Street South

St. Petersburg, Florida  33701




With complete award of this contract in August 1997 we commenced the full effort to upgrade the existing stations and to install a new station in northwest Florida Bay.  This effort has continued during Year 2 of this continuing program.  Three major tasks are required to accomplish this project:


1.      Continued upgrading of existing stations at Fowey Rocks, Molasses, Sombrero, Dry Tortugas, and Long Key

2.      Completion of the installation of a meteorological and oceanographic/water quality monitoring station in northwest Florida Bay

3.      Continued regular maintenance of the existing stations and the new northwest Florida Bay station.


Narrative detail is given for each task in the following sections.


Maintenance, Repair and Upgrade Existing Stations (Tasks 1 and 3):


Efforts continued in Year 2 to upgrade the existing stations at Fowey Rocks, Molasses, Sombrero, Sand Key, Dry Tortugas, and Long Key.   All the Hydrolab conductivity/temperature (C-T) sensors have now been replaced with Falmouth Scientific C-T sensors.  At two of existing stations, Long Key and Sombrero, other sensors have been installed in addition to the upgraded C-T recorders.  Water level recorders, fluorometers, and transmissometers have been installed at these two stations.  The water level recorder at these stations was installed by the National Data Buoy Center, National Weather Service (NDBC).  To support this additional instrumentation the NDBC also replaced the VEEP satellite data transmission units with their upgraded MARS data transmission unit.  At Sombrero and Long Key the FIO staff has installed a fluorometer and transmissometer as part of the oceanographic/water quality instrumentation.  The responsibility of the NDBC was to insure that these additional instruments would be properly interfaced with the satellite transmission package.  The MARS unit at the Long Key station functioned properly but the unit on Sombrero has not been functioning correctly.  The NDBC is scheduled to replace this unit with a fully functional unit in May 1999 to make this station capable of transmitting the additional data collected.  The Sombrero station has been providing meteorological and C-T data

during Year 2 but not water level, fluorometer, or transmissometer data.  The data from these stations is displayed daily on the bulletin board maintained by the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (  A table summarizing the instrumentation and data collected at each station is attached.


The FIO field staff based at the Keys Marine Laboratory (KML) continued routine maintenance of the existing SEAKEYS stations at Fowey Rocks, Molasses, Sombrero, Sand Key, Dry Tortugas, and Long Key during the continued upgrading of these stations and completion of the northwest Florida Bay station.  The routine maintenance includes cleaning the sensors, ground-truthing, scheduled rotation of the oceanographic recorders for calibration, and sampling for calibration of the fluorometer and transmissometer.  As was anticipated, the installation of the Falmouth Scientific C-T recorders significantly reduced the frequency of this service due to the decreased biofouling and signal drift experienced with these instruments.  However, the fluorometers and transmissometers still require frequent cleaning.  The FIO staff will continue maintenance of the six upgraded stations as well as the new northwest Florida Bay station for the duration of the project. 


Installation of a New Station in Northwest Florida Bay (Task 2):


The installation of the new station in northwest Florida Bay was accomplished by the FIO in cooperation with Department of Marine Science/University of South Florida (DMS/USF) as an institutional cost share in Year 1 of this program.  The location of the station was determined by the SFERPM program in consultation with the physical oceanographers working in Florida Bay.  The USCG has installed the pilings and platform at 25E05'00" N, 81E05'30" W.


The instruments on the northwest Florida Bay station for meteorological, oceanographic, and water quality measurements are identical to those on the upgraded existing stations.  The installation of the meteorological and oceanographic sensors on this station was completed in Fall 1998.  The water quality sensors (fluorometer and transmissometer) will be installed in late April 1999. The data from this station is received at the DMS/USF facility through the GOES satellite and relayed by anonymous FTP transfer on the Internet to James Hendee (AOML/NOAA) for QA/QC and dissemination.  The data from this station is displayed daily on the website at


Other Programs Supported:


In addition to the maintenance, enhancement, and operations of the SEAKEYS network, the SEAKEYS staff have worked cooperatively with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) and other NOAA and EPA programs working in Florida Bay and the FKNMS.  Examples of these programs are the Florida Bay Circulation Studies (Ned Smith, P.I.; Tom Lee, P.I.), an atmospheric sampling program (P. Whung, P.I.), and the Level I benthic monitoring program (J. Ogden, P.I.).  In conjunction with the Level I benthic monitoring the staff is also providing assistance in the operation of environmental monitoring instruments which are providing additional data to meet the FKNMS management goals.  The SEAKEYS platforms with the basic suite of measurements have proved to be a very attractive and cost-effective site for more specific research oriented studies which build on the information available from the basic network.