Marine Science Faculty Publications

Characterization of Karenia Brevis Blooms on the West Florida Shelf Using Ocean Color Satellite Imagery: Implications for Bloom Maintenance and Evolution

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bloom maintenance, Gulf of Mexico, harmful algal blooms, Karenia brevis, MODIS, ocean color, West Florida Shelf

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Satellite ocean color remote sensing techniques, coupled with in situ data, were used to examine the spatial extent and evolution of four Karenia brevis blooms on the West Florida Shelf (WFS) in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2011. Observations were obtained with the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS-Aqua). These four blooms were delineated by combining remote-sensing reflectance at 555 nm and normalized fluorescence line height. In 2004 and 2005, the WFS was affected by several hurricanes, including the category 5 storm Hurricane Katrina. These hurricanes led to increased river discharge and vertical mixing which favored bloom intensification and dispersion. No hurricanes passed over the WSF in 2006; however, storms in south Florida may have aided bloom intensification via increased river discharge. In 2011, a bloom appeared off Venice, Florida, where several small creeks discharge. The bloom moved south toward Charlotte Harbor where it intensified and lingered for several months as it received nutrients from riverine discharge and upwelling events. While it is difficult to identify initiation stages of a K. brevis bloom (< ∼ 50;000 cells L-1) using satellite imagery, the techniques used here provide information about bloom evolution (size, duration, and advection) and insight into factors affecting bloom dynamics.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, v. 11, issue 1, art. 12002