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New System at Mote Marine Laboratory Enhances Water Quality Monitoring

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A new water monitoring system known as HABMON was recently installed at Mote Marine Laboratory by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). The unit contains a variety of data recorders which provide continuous measurements of water quality parameters such as temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, and dissolved oxygen. The information will help scientists understand the physical, chemical and biological properties of the water moving in and out of the Bay. This information is useful for assessing the potential harmful affects of algal blooms and the overall health of Sarasota Bay.

Traditional water quality monitoring requires the collection of monthly samples that are sent to a laboratory for processing and analysis. HABMON provides area scientists and resource managers more immediate insights about the changing conditions in the local estuary.

The installation of HABMON represents an ongoing collaboration among scientists from the FWRI, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota County, and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. Dr. Jim Ivey with FWRI recently introduced the technology to local scientists and resource managers. FWRI is associated with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"This is an advancement that helps a lot of professionals obtain useful data more quickly," explained John Ryan, Environmental Supervisor with Sarasota County. "It's also an example of cost-effective collaboration among scientists and the various organizations they support."

Photo: Jim Ivey with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute explaining the HABMON system to local scientists and resource managers on the Mote Marine Laboratory dock. (Photo credit: Wesley R. Elsberry)