EPA Science Inventory

Combining Monitoring Data Spanning Multiple Temporal and Spatial Scales To Evaluate Water Quality Affecting Seagrass Habitat Extent in northwest Florida Estuaries

Citation:

Hagy, Jim, M. Murrell, J. Lehrter, AND C. Le. Combining Monitoring Data Spanning Multiple Temporal and Spatial Scales To Evaluate Water Quality Affecting Seagrass Habitat Extent in northwest Florida Estuaries. Presented at 9th Biennial National Water Quality Monitoring council Conference, Cincinnati, OH, April 28 - May 04, 2014.

Description:

The ability to understand and manage ecological changes caused by anthropogenic stressors is often impeded by a lack of sufficient information to resolve pattern and change with sufficient resolution and extent. Increasingly, different types of environmental data are available that describe temporal and spatial patterns in great detail, opening the door to better relating changes to their causes. However, information from different sources is often difficult to utilize due to constraints imposed by mismatches in scales, technological and data processing hurdles, and a lack of data analysis methods and examples applied to environmental decision-making. In this presentation, part of a study seeking to demonstrate application of satellite remote sensing data in environmental decision making, we address the task of understanding causes of changes in seagrass habitats in northwest Florida estuaries, which have been declining in spatial extent and depth of colonization since at least 1960 and continuing through 2010. Based on global patterns and trends related to seagrass loss, changes in optical properties are likely important. The data that were considered included: (1) digitized aerial surveys of seagrass extent, (2) water quality indicators from satellite remote sensing, (3) boat-based surveys, and (4) high-frequency continuous monitoring of optical properties. We evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each in the context of a conceptual model of ecological processes affecting seagrass. We also examine how each type of data could be used to better inform interpretation of the other types, with the final purpose of using them together to improve our conceptual and quantitative understanding of factors affecting the seagrass habitats. The approach includes the use of coupled hydrodynamic-water quality models to facilitate synthesis and extrapolation of information across scales. Finally, we discuss how these different kinds of information can inform development of numeric nutrient criteria and other aspects of nutrient management in estuaries.

Purpose/Objective:

Address the task of understanding causes of changes in seagrass habitats in northwest Florida estuaries, which have been declining in spatial extent and depth of colonization since at least 1960 and continuing through 2010

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Completion Date: 05/22/2014
Record Last Revised: 05/22/2014
Record Created: 05/22/2014
Record Released: 05/22/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 276513

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION