4th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Natalie Nelson
Session Name Poster Session: Impact of changing drivers on water resources
Poster Number 26
Author(s) Natalie Nelson,  Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (Presenting Author)
  Miguel Campo-Bescós,  Projects and Rural Engineering, Public University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  Blooms in the Bay: Modeling spatiotemporal chlorophyll-a dynamics exhibiting high inter-annual variability
  Located south of the Everglades and west of the Florida Keys, Florida Bay’s position within the landscape makes it an integrative indicator of upstream terrestrial disturbance. As a result, the ecological integrity of Florida Bay has noticeably waned as development has increased on the Florida peninsula, as has been made particularly evident through the recurrence and persistence of ecologically devastating algal blooms. Although several potential bloom triggers have been identified, linkages between the bloom response and changes in water quality have not yet been deterministically modeled across the expanse of the Bay due to the algal dynamic of this estuary exhibiting high inter-annual variability as compared to other estuarine systems. Therefore, this study was conducted to analyze and simulate these spatiotemporal relationships. Using SERC-FIU Water Quality Monitoring Network time series data (16 years, monthly time step) of several water quality constituents from 28 spatially distributed stations in Florida Bay, multilinear regression models were created. Chlorophyll-a, serving as a proxy to phytoplankton concentration, was used as a measure of algal bloom intensity. A model with a common set of explanatory variables, including site-specific limiting nutrients, turbidity, and autoregressive terms, was successfully developed for the entire domain. The regression coefficients were used to analyze the relative importance and spatial variability of the bloom drivers in the estuary. Additionally, uncertainty inherent to data collection in aquatic environments was considered in the interpretation of results. This work contributes to the development of explanatory models for highly variable algal dynamics in estuarine systems, and could be used to evaluate the future risk of blooms in Florida Bay in the context of forecasted development and Everglades restoration scenarios.