NOAA Awards $150K to Study Salinity, Nutrients, Food Webs in Florida Bay
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded $150,000 to University of Texas at Austin ($37,277), University of Akron ($37,790), University of Minnesota ($37,485), and Florida International University ($37,448) to study how salinity variations affect ecological conditions and to determine the causes of algal blooms in Florida Bay. The award is the final installment of a two-year grant from NOAA with a total value of approximately $300,000.
South Florida is the site of a $7.8 billion restoration effort to revitalize the Everglades and restore the water quality of Florida Bay. Florida Bay has shown signs of ecological stress, such as dropping water quality and large areas of dying sea grass due to high salinities and/or nutrients. The researchers hope to discover why high salinities affect ecological conditions more in the north-central region of the Bay than elsewhere. In addition, scientists will examine what factors allow for the persistence of algal blooms despite variations in seasonal precipitation and nutrient supply.