Nutrients and Their Contribution to Harmful Algal Blooms
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) represent a major environmental problem in all regions of the U.S., and their occurrence is on the rise due to increased nutrient pollution. HABs have severe impacts on human health, aquatic ecosystems, and the economy.
Recently, harmful algal blooms clogged the St. Lucie Estuary in Florida, causing Governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency in Martin, St. Lucie, Lee, and Palm Beach counties. Thanks to data from Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch's Indian River Lagoon Observatory Network of Environmental Sensors (IRLON), scientists were able to observe changing water-quality conditions in real time. IRLON consists of Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory (LOBO) units from Sea-Bird Coastal at 10 sites throughout the Indian River Lagoon, including 5 sites in the St. Lucie Estuary.
While this is the most recent example of environmental problems related to HABs, there have been other recent incidents. In the summer of 2015, a large bloom stretching from central California to the Alaska Peninsula significantly impacted coastal resources and marine life, resulting in shellfish, crab harvesting, and fishery closures. In 2014, the city of Toledo, Ohio issued a two-day ban on drinking or cooking with tap water for residents due to a toxic algae bloom on western Lake Erie. Learn more about the HAB issue in Florida.
Available Soon! Recorded presentation:
Using real-time sensors to monitor nutrients and HABs.
New Sensors Integrated on Navis BGCi Profiling Floats
Sea-Bird Scientific delivered a new Navis BGCi sensor integration in June to key customers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia. The new float configuration is comprised of the standard Navis BGCi platform (CTD + Oxygen + Fluorometer/ Backscattering) with a SUNA Nitrate Sensor and dual OCR radiometers mounted externally.
The dual radiometer sensors will allow researchers to measure the intensity of light penetrating into the water column and also measure how much light is being reflected upwards by phytoplankton and particles in seawater. This radiometric data, correlated with nitrate (SUNA), dissolved oxygen (SBE 63), and fluorometer/backscattering data are key to understanding complex interactions between light, nutrients, and microbiology in the ocean. This information will help scientists better understand ocean productivity and estimate the amount of carbon that is sequestered by the ocean annually.