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Coastal & Regional

Coastal and Regional Environmental Research:
Regional and coastal environmental problems have been a focus of AOML activities for more than two decades. Prior major interdisciplinary, multi-institutional efforts have included inter alia: Nutrient Enhanced Coastal Ocean Productivity; New York Bight Study and a series of fisheries oceanography-related studies (Fisheries Oceanography Cooperative Investigations, South Atlantic Bight Recruitment Experiment, Southeast Florida and Caribbean Recruitment). At present, our principal field efforts range from physical, biological, and chemical studies related to South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) and the underlying health of this ecosystem to the regional Intra-Americas Sea and the status and health of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. At the same time, we are seeking to develop the next generation of instrumentation and data assimilation tools necessary to provide the nowcast and forecast products required by the coastal ocean resource management community. South Florida Ecosystem Restoration science activities at AOML include a number of interdisciplinary projects. Specific subject areas were determined and priorities assigned based in conjunction with NOAA's federal, state, and regional partners cooperating in the multi-agency SFER effort. Projects include: delineating and monitoring the circulation and exchange between Florida Bay and adjacent waters (Figure 18), the physical component supports the Bay Circulation Model and the biological and chemical monitoring component supports the Quality and Ecological Models; paleoecological studies of the history of the Bay ecosystem (Figure 19) that have been instrumental in setting restoration objectives by elucidating the salinity history of Florida Bay prior to extensive water management; kinetic and field studies quantifying the critical relationship between dissolved phosphorous and calcium carbonate chemistry which determines the availability of this essential nutrient to phytoplankton and seagrass primary producers; measuring for the first time within the Bay the atmospheric deposition of plant nutrients, the absence of which has been one of the major uncertainties in Bay nutrient budgets; development and testing of a new rainfall algorithm for the Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD), which is absolutely critical to determining the pattern and intensity of precipitation over Florida Bay and the South Florida peninsula given the highly convective nature of tropical rainfall; multi-investigator plankton bloom dynamics field experiments, which have characterized growth processes, nutrient pathways, and grazing loss in both the diatom blooms and blue-green algal blooms (the two dominant modes in Florida Bay); adaptation and parameterization of the Advance Regional Prediction Simulation (ARPS) model to the South Florida Peninsula to improve prediction of the rainfall, wind, and evaporation fields under various restoration scenarios and initial conditions(Figure 20 and Figure 21); and, most recently, an exploratory investigation of the distribution and degradation rate of an important class of anthropogenic pollutants (polycyclic aromatics - PAH) in South Florida.


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