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.
In August 2018, a team of biological oceanographers and ecologists set sail on the R/V Walton Smith to sample the waters of Biscayne Bay & Florida Bay. AOML has conducted regular interdisciplinary observations of south Florida coastal waters since the early 1990’s. We spoke with Chris Keble, the lead scientist for AOML’s South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Research project, to learn more.
AOML researchers recently participated in the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Research Cruise, a survey of south Florida’s coastal waters on June 22-26 aboard the R/V Savannah. These cruises have investigated coastal water quality in south Florida since the late 1990s. The science crew collected samples to measure nutrients, plankton, productivity, chlorophyll a, and dissolved inorganic carbon. They also recorded salinity and temperature to help monitor ecosystem restoration efforts in south Florida. These cruises have an additional focus on lower trophic level dynamics downstream from the Shark River on the southwest Florida shelf.
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.
Throughout the month of October, AOML scientists were hard at work surveying south Florida’s coastal waters. The research team focused on monitoring water quality, seagrass beds, and juvenile sport fish populations throughout Florida Bay, Biscayne Bay, Florida Keys and the southwest Florida shelf. These surveys assessed ocean temperatures, salinity, nutrients, environmental DNA and primary productivity to better understand how south Florida’s coastal ecosystems were impacted by the passage of Hurricane Irma.
AOML scientists aboard the R/V F.G. Walton Smith conducted the bimonthly water quality research cruise in support of the South Florida Project during the week of September 21st. The AOML South Florida Project (SFP), and its associated field operations, have enabled scientists and resource managers to keep a watchful eye on the sensitive marine habitats found in the region and have served as a sentinel during periods when the ecosystem has been subjected to extreme events such as hurricanes, harmful algal blooms (HAB), and more recently, potential oil spill contaminants. Additionally, the AOML SFP has produced a comprehensive, long-term baseline regarding regional circulation, salinity, water quality, and biology for the ecosystem.