Water and Core Sampling
Biscayne Bay Water Watch Sampling
On April 2, 2018, SeaKeepers participated in the Biscayne Bay Water Watch (BBWW) aboard Fleet Miami’s Julia. SeaKeepers took water samples from Biscayne Bay. The BBWW is a citizen-science based volunteer water quality monitoring program developed and managed by the UF/IFAS (University of Florida | Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) Sea Grant Extension Program in Miami-Dade County. Participants provide data concerning water temperature, pH, salinity, and dissolved oxygen while further analyses document levels of total nitrogen, total phosphorus, ammonia, silica, and chlorophyll a. The monthly data collection helps to track harmful algal blooms, changes in water quality, and provides a metric for assessing the health of Biscayne Bay.
Dr. Smyth, a biogeochemist at the Tropical Research and Education Center, University of Florida/IFAS took core samples during the trip. Dr. Smyth investigates how nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous cycle between the air, water and sediment. On this voyage, Dr. Smyth collected sediment samples from Biscayne Bay at two sites.
“Nutrient pollution has impacted many rivers and bays. Excess nutrients can lead to algal blooms, fish kills and degradation of water quality. While the land and atmosphere are generally considered to be the source of these nutrients, internal cycling that occurs in the water column or sediments can also alter nutrient concentrations. Managing aquatic ecosystems, therefore, requires an understanding of the sources, transformation and fates of nutrients. We collected sediment cores in order to determine the degree to which the sediments in Biscayne Bay affect nutrients and oxygen in the water column. Experiments will be performed to measure rates of exchange and transformation of oxygen, phosphorous and nitrogen within sediments and from the sediments to the water column. Results will be integrated with water quality data collected by the Biscayne Bay Water Watch program to evaluate the overall health of Biscayne Bay. ” – Dr. Smyth