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Long-Term measurement of physical, chemical, and biological water column properties in the South Florida coastal ecosystem

Kathryn Baugher, ARMADA Master Teacher
Diana Conaway, ARMADA Mentee

Print Resources
  • Foster Ra. Subramenism A; Mahaney C., and Carpenter E.J. 2007. Influence of the Amazon River Plume on distributions in the western tropical north Atlantic ocean. Limnology & Oceanography. 52(2): 517-532
    Vertical & horizontal distributions of diazatrophic populations in the western tropical north Atlantic were examined. They were distributed within the fresh water lens of the Amazon plume. Highest populations were at surface and decreased with depth. Outside the plume nutrients were below detection. This would be an interesting comparison with the Mississippi river plume.
  • Hogg Nelson and Frye Daniel E. 2007. Performance of a New Generation of Acoustic Current Meters. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 37 (2): 148-161
    Through development of a long-duration, subsurface mooring, known as ultra moor, several modern acoustic current meters were tested. The aanderaa RCM II & the Nortek aquadopp measure currents using the Doppler shift of backscattered acoustic signals & the Falmouth Scientific ACM measures changes in travel time of acoustic signals between pairs of transducers. The aquadopp was baised high. Article offers a good discussion of how an acoustic meter works.
  • Hu Chuanimin, Nelson James R. Johns Elizabeth. 2005. Mississippi River water in the Florida Straits and in the Gulf Stream. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, L14606
    The ocean receives incredible amounts of fresh water every year. Nutrient-rich and turbid river waters affect all forms of marine life, from phytoplankton to coral reefs and seagrass. Coherent plumes of river water from the Mississippi River is maintained from the mouth of the river to past the Dry Tortugas. The changes in ocean salinity, temperature, chlorophyll, and nutrients fluctuates with changes in river flow. Excellent explanation of the effect of fresh water on the Gulf environment.
  • Jacobson Cliff. 1991. Water, Water, everywhere- water quality factors. New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium. Hach Chemical Co
    By sampling & testing a water sample, students gain an understanding of dissolved oxygen and its importance to life in an aquatic ecosystem. This leads to a discussion of phytoplankton in oceans which produce three-fourths of the earth's oxygen supply.
  • Johns Elizabeth and Lee Thomas. 2003. Red Tides on the southwest Florida Shelf: The effect of physical oceanographic and meteorological forcing on the onset, severity, and persistence of Karenia brevis blooms. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Summary Report.
    A red tide is a marine environmental event characterized by higher than normal concentrations of microscopic algae, with the most common species in southwest Florida waters, the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. Red tides cause human health problems and are responsible for fish kills and increased mortality rates in dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees. Environmental factors which appear favorable for red tide development include elevated sea surface temperatures, high nutrient content, low salinity, and calm seas. Data was gathered to help determine the chemical "triggers" for red tide blooms. Sources of the data collected included shipboard surveys, moored observations, and satellite tracked drifters. Helps the reader to understand the reason for data collections.
  • Johns Elizabeth. 2004. Surface Drifters Track Circulation Patterns in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Atlantic oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory Keynotes. Volume 8, number 2.
    The coastal waters of NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary encompass the coral reefs and protected spawning grounds of the Dry Tortugas and the Florida Keys. Understanding the circulation and exchange of waters within this interconnected system is essential to effective management. Drifters are used to monitor regional circulation patterns in real time. The drifters are about one meter tall and are ballasted to float low in the water column. They are equipped with sails to allow them to move with the water. The drifters are tracked by satellites. Explains the use of drifters in collecting current data.
  • Kelly Gregory, Chen Catherine and Prothero William. 2000. Epistemological framing of a discipline writing science in university oceanography. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(7): 691-718
    Instruction in scientific writing in an oceanography course communicated positions on the course. Research explores how teachers and students come to define particular views of disciplinary knowledge. Reflective writing should be an essential part of science classes.
  • Klemas V. 2005. Univ. of South Florida: Institute for Marine Remote Sensing Orbital, sat, Nov. 19,
    Learn how scientists use satellites to study the ocean from coral reefs to red tides. Five lessons cover the secchi dish, coral reef remote sensing, ocean color & sea surface temperatures. An informative article on physical oceanography data collecting instruments.
  • Leichter James, Helmuth Brian and Fischer Andrew. 2006. Variation beneath the surface: Quantify complex thermal environments on coral reefs in the Caribbean, Bahamas, & Florida. Journal of Marine Research. 64 (4): 563-588
    Temperature records collected on six coral reefs in the Caribbean, Bahamas, & Florida keep were analyzed. There was significant variability across a range of scales from minutes to seasons, across depths and among sites; the greatest variability was found in winter. Thermal variability has significant implications of the physiology and ecology of corals & other reef organisms.
  • Malakaft David. 2005. Oceanography: Grim forecast for a Fading Fleet. Science. 307 (5708): 338-340
    Unless the Government takes action, aging vessels, tight budgets, and rising demand could mean rough weather for U.S. marine scientists who need to go to sea. What will happen to data and new findings? How can the government be persuaded to include marine research in the budget? This would make a great discussion/debate in a science class.
  • Norby Rena F. 1997. Evaluating Progression Gender Equity in Careers for women in science & technology: The impact of role modeling on women's career choices. Electronic Journal of Science Education. 1(3)
    Women are still not equally represented in many careers in technology and science. Young women possess equal abilities in scientific skills in elementary schools, but their enrollment in science related classes diminishes as they enter high school and college. Role modeling was found to be an important means to encourage young women to choose careers in technology & science.
  • Norstrom A, Lokrantz Y, Nystrom M. 2007. Influence of dead coral substrate morphology on patterns of juvenile coral distribution. Marine Biology. 150 (6)
    Results from this study suggest that dead coral might attract coral larvae that are morphologically similar. The physical morphology of the dead coral substrate has a significant influence on the coral substrate morphology can be an important qualitative factor for coral settlement and a possible determinant of community structure. Good discussion on coral growth.
  • Venazian Milena, Griffa Analisa, and Poulin Pierre-Marie. 2007. Historical Drifter Data & Statistical Prediction of Particle Motion . Journal of Atmospheric & Oceanic Technology. 24 (2): 236-254
    Historical drifter data was analyzed to investigate particle evolution. Maps of drifter concentration at different times are built and interpreted as maps of the probability of finding a particle at a given time. The results indicate that the analysis of historical drifters can provide valuable information on statistical particle prediction to be used in experimental design.
Web Resources
  • The South Florida Everglades Restoration Project
    Everglades is a microcosm of the entire environmental movement. The attempt to restore this region from utilitarianism, began with conservation, then recently moved to the revitalization of the natural environment. After one hundred years of forced controls, damage to the environment has been immense. One consequence of the human disrupted flow patterns through the watershed, is a decrease in the amount of water reaching the Florida Bay at the southern tip of Florida. During attempts at drainage and flood control, water was rerouted, making a quicker escape to the surrounding ocean waters of either the Atlantic on the east or the Gulf of Mexico on the west. This resulted in less water flowing south to the Florida Bay. To make up for this difference, the bay takes in an increasing amount of marine water each year, raising the salinity of the natural water. This is extremely damaging to the fish and wildlife native to the bay, which are accustomed to only limited levels of saline water. Not only are the effects felt by the ecosystem, but they are also detrimental to the economy, as fishing in the Florida Bay is a major source of revenue for the region. NOAA and the University of Miami have been monitoring the Florida Bay for 15 years. Data is gathered and recorded each month. Changes in temperature, salinity, currents, water depth and density are noted. Water samples are collected and analyzed for nutrient content, chemicals, and biological factors. The effect of the restoration program is still unknown.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Ocean Instruments
    This site is an excellent source for information about equipment used in ocean research. The instruments are shown in photographs. Explanations on what the instrument is designed to do, how it works and why it is used are given for a multitude of devices. Some examples of instruments discussed are: the acoustic Doppler current profiler, the conductivity-temperature-depth profiler, and the fluorometer. Excellent discussion on advantages and limitations of each instrument is given.