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Biscayne Bay PhycoNet

Region(s) of Study: U.S. States and Territories / Florida
Primary Contact(s): marc.suddleson@noaa.gov
This project began September 2022 and is projected to be completed in August 2025.

Why We Care
Biscayne Bay is a coastal embayment in southeast Florida that has experienced rapid human population growth over the last century, resulting in steady declines in water and habitat quality. A 2019 study from NOAA and partners detected an increasing trend in indicators of eutrophication in the bay – including chlorophyll a and nutrient levels – over a period that coincided with a rapid rise in human population around the bay. Recent wide-spread fish kills and algal blooms have further raised concerns about the health of the ecosystem and highlight a need for better monitoring data to track changing bay conditions, alert responders, support science needed to understand the causes and consequences of Biscayne Bay ecosystem stressors, and develop effective long-term solutions.

What We Are Doing
Florida International University is leading this Community Directed Spending project which aims to enhance current Biscayne Bay water quality monitoring, adding capabilities to document phytoplankton, algal toxins and related water quality characteristics. The effort will establish a baseline that will be used to evaluate future observations under changing conditions. Biscayne Bay PhycoNet builds on two of EPA's longest coastal water quality monitoring programs in Biscayne and Florida Bays, and proposed monitoring and research are part of a larger Greater Biscayne Bay Monitoring Program involving multiple universities, Federal, state and local agencies, and nonprofits focused on water quality, bacteria, oxygen, seagrass beds, fisheries and marine mammals and turtles. The monitoring program has three components:

  • Routine Monitoring - Ten sites throughout the bay will be sampled eight times per year to capture the diversity of phytoplankton communities using light and scanning electron microscopy, and metabarcoding to identify and characterize algal species. The project will also characterize potential algal toxins and identify toxin precursors using metabolomics.
  • Remote Detection - Real-time data will be acquired using Imaging FlowCytoBots (IFCBs) for the detection of algal cells to predict the occurrence of AB species and their likely severity and impacts on coastal ecosystems. Buoys for water quality measurements.
  • Data Dissemination. Data will be posted on FIU Institute of Environment website, shared with local and state resource managers (i.e. Miami-Dade DERM and FL's FWRI) and with regional entities (i.e.SECOORA)

Dr. Schonna Manning, Asst. Professor; Omics Coordinator, Institute of Environment at the Florida International University leads this project.

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