Scientists are heading to sea on the R/V Walton Smith to sample areas where red tide blooms are commonly present off the west Florida coast. Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tide, forms blooms when elevated concentrations (>100,000 cells per liter) are present in the water. K. brevis produces toxins called brevetoxins that can cause massive fish kills, weaken or kill marine mammals, and (if the toxin becomes aerosolized and inhaled) cause respiratory distress in humans and marine mammals. The team of scientists will be comprehensively sampling a series of transects along the West Florida Shelf.
AOML scientists are collaborating with partners from the Northern Gulf Institute of the University of Mississippi, and the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies to tackle increasing nutrient levels throughout Biscayne Bay. A previous study detected the slow but steady eutrophication and warned of a regime shift towards murky algal dominated waters if better water quality management practices were not implemented.
AOML recently led a multi-agency (NOAA/AOML, NOAA/SEFSC, State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, NOAA/NESDIS, University of South Florida, MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and University of Miami) research cruise to study the effects of Southwest Florida’s ongoing red tide. To address such a complex problem as red tide, the cruise brought together a diverse team of experts consisting of commercial fishermen, oceanographers, systems ecologist, phytoplankton ecologist, and fish population biologist. This cruise allowed researchers to take a holistic approach to characterize the extent of the red tide and its impacts. The goal of the cruise was to understand why these blooms happen to better inform effective future response measures and hopefully improve Florida’s resilience to these coastal events.
From August 6th to the 10th, AOML researchers, in partnership with the University of Miami and the University of South Florida, embarked on a cruise to investigate water quality along South Florida’s coasts. Two teams alternated to complete 24-hour sampling and data collection.
AOML scientists recently returned from the first cruise of 2018. As part of the South Florida Project, regional surveys over the southwest Florida shelf and the Florida Keys reef tract are routinely performed aboard the R/V F.G. Walton Smith on a bimonthly basis, to keep a watchful eye over sensitive marine habitats found in the region. Sampling methodologies include discrete sampling and flow through measurements of water quality and chemistry, and biological oceanographic parameters.
On July 18, NOAA AOML and partner scientists will depart on the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cycle (GOMECC-3) research cruise in support of NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Monitoring Program. This isn’t the first time researchers will head to sea in this region. Previous cruises have taken place along the east and Gulf of Mexico (GOM) coasts of the US in both 2007 and 2012. Together, these cruises provide coastal ocean measurements of unprecedented quality that are used both to improve our understanding of where ocean acidification (OA) is happening and how ocean chemistry patterns are changing over time. This will be the most comprehensive OA cruise to date in this region, set to include sampling in the international waters of Mexico for the first time. Ocean acidification is a global issue with global impacts, and international collaboration like this is vital to understanding and adapting to our changing oceans.
Photo Essay Adjacent to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay encompasses the shallow waters, mangrove islands, and grassy banks between mainland Florida and the Keys; an area about 1,000 square miles in size. With an average depth of only 3 feet, the bay is home to a number of marine populations as well as a […]
With an average depth of only 3 feet, the Florida Bay is home to a number of marine populations, as well as a vital nursery ground for commercial and recreational reef fish species. The Florida Bay also plays host to a group of NOAA researchers who are investigating how habitat changes in Florida Bay are impacting juvenile sportfish populations, with a focus on the spotted seatrout.