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Now browsing: Hometown News > News > St. Lucie County

Website focuses on lagoon water quality data
Rating: 1.75 / 5 (8 votes)  
Posted: 2013 Jul 26 - 07:10

For Hometown News

TREASURE COAST -- FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has launched a new website to provide real-time water measurements concerning the Indian River Lagoon.

The information comes from the first of Harbor Branch's Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory units placed in the lagoon to measure important environmental parameters including temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, water color, chlorophyll that is indicative of algae in the water column, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates. The website, http://fau-hboi.loboviz.com/, is accessible 24 hours a day.

FAU Harbor Branch has a long history of conducting research and monitoring in the lagoon, which is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America. Its research includes relating seagrass status with water quality; determining the causes of macroalgae and harmful algal blooms; studying marine mammal health; and population and mercury in the food web and ecosystem change. The LOBO units, and the accompanying website with high quality, freely accessible, real-time data, will transform these long-standing research efforts while providing this information to all who wish to see or use it.

"This real-time data will allow us to determine critical baselines for the lagoon's environment and its relationships to its plants and animals," said Dennis Hanisak, Ph.D., who leads FAU Harbor Branch's LOBO efforts. "We also will be able to study significant events, such as water discharges, algal blooms, and storm events and how these events relate to ecosystem changes in the lagoon, as they happen. This LOBO technology will provide researchers, colleagues, governmental agencies, students of all levels, and the general public unprecedented IRL environmental data, real-time."

The LOBO units were developed by leading chemical oceanographers and estuarine researchers, have been tested, proven and improved over time, as well as have a national and international presence in Canada, California, Oregon, Delaware, Maine and the west coast of Florida. FAU Harbor Branch's LOBO units will integrate into the National Ocean Observatory Data System, allowing comparative studies both within the state and on a national scale.

A new public outreach video also was released to educate the community on the Indian River Lagoon and the research that is conducted by FAU Harbor Branch scientists in the lagoon - www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSxeDCtsOZc&feature=youtu.be.

For more information, call (772) 242-2230 or email carinsmith@fau.edu.




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