Marine Science Faculty Publications

Three-Dimensional Structure of a Karenia Brevis Bloom: Observations from Gliders, Satellites, and Field Measurements

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fvcom model, glider, harmful algal blooms (habs), karenia brevis, remote sensing, upwelling

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Autonomous underwater gliders with customized sensors were deployed in October 2011 on the central West Florida Shelf to measure a Karenia brevis bloom, which was captured in satellite imagery since late September 2011. Combined with in situ taxonomy data, satellite measurements, and numerical circulation models, the glider measurements provided information on the three-dimensional structure of the bloom. Temperature, salinity, fluorescence of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and chlorophyll-a, particulate backscattering coefficient, and K. brevis-specific chlorophyll-a concentrations were measured by the gliders over >250km from the surface to about 30-m water depth on the shallow shelf. At the time of sampling the bloom was characterized by uniform vertical structures, with relatively high chlorophyll-a and CDOM fluorescence, low temperature, and high salinity. Satellite data extracted along the glider tracks demonstrated coherent spatial variations as observed by the gliders. Further, the synoptic satellite observations revealed the bloom evolution during the 7 months between late September 2011 and mid April 2012, and showed the maximum bloom size of ~3000km2 around 23 November. The combined satellite and in situ data also confirmed that the ratio of satellite-derived fluorescence line height (FLH) to particulate backscattering coefficient at 547nm (bbp(547)) could be used as a better index than FLH alone to detect K. brevis blooms. Numerical circulation models further suggested that the bloom could have been initiated offshore and advected onshore via the bottom Ekman layer. The case study here demonstrates the unique value of an integrated coastal ocean observing system in studying harmful algal blooms (HABs).

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Harmful Algae, v. 29, p. 22-30