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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

Nutrient pollution in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is the common thread that links an array of problems including eutrophication, harmful algal blooms (HABs), bio-invasions, fish kills, shellfish poisonings, seagrass and coral reef die-off, emerging marine diseases, and marine mammal and seabird deaths. The severity of this problem is recognized by the GOM Alliance, which has established an action plan for reducing nutrient inputs. This project is based on previous and existing research at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, University of South Florida, NOAA, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and builds on a long track record of the PI in generating water quality research necessary for decision-making activities. To enable decision making necessary for reducing nutrients to the GOM, we propose a multi-disciplinary approach to help develop nutrient criteria for coastal waters in southwest Florida. The study areas will include the Charlotte Harbor area that is impacted by the Caloosahatchee River and the lower Florida Keys that is affected by discharges from Shark River Slough. In situ nutrient (ammonium, nitrate, phosphate) and optical water quality data will be collected at the study sites during wet and dry seasons using three MicroLAB nutrient analyzers bundled with a SBE 10 CTD and bio-optical equipment. We will integrate these in situ studies with data from satellite sensors (MODIS, SeaWiFS, and others), meteorological observations (rainfall, river flow, and nutrient concentration), and previous in situ surveys to perform a rigorous analysis, and make recommendations to several decision-making agencies, including the Florida DEP and local county governments. The study directly addresses two of NASA's priority issues identified by GOMA that target water quality and nutrient reduction. The results will also provide a fundamental baseline to evaluate the impacts of the ongoing Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the largest environmental restoration effort in human history.

Project PI: Brian Lapointe/Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University 5600 US 1 North Fort Pierce, FL 34946

Phone: (772) 242-2276

Email: blapoin1@hboi.fau.edu

http://www.fau.edu/hboi/ProjectManagers/BrianLapointe/blhome.php

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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011

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