A team of researchers, including Dr. Christopher G. Smith of the U.S. Geological Survey St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, received a $2.3M NSF grant to advance understanding of the sources and fluxes of various nutrients to the West Florida Shelf – important factors for algae growth, including species known for large blooms.
New collaborative project on geochemical boundary fluxes to West Florida Shelf funded by the National Science Foundation
Submarine groundwater discharge is a hydrological process characterized by the flow of fresh and brackish groundwater from land into the sea. It plays an important role in moving nutrients, trace elements, and gases that are often used by phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants that serve as the base of the food web) throughout ocean waters. The West Florida Shelf is considered nutrient-depleted, but some forms of phytoplankton are thriving despite this. This work will enhance understanding of nutrient fluxes from submarine groundwater and other boundary sources into the Gulf of Mexico and how these nutrient sources may be available to phytoplankton blooms.
Principal Investigators from Florida State University, University of South Florida, Old Dominion University, Oregon State University, and the USGS SPCMSC met at the USF College of Marine Sciences last week to discuss the objective of the project with newly recruited students, to refine the research cruise schedule, and to compare sampling methods. A small team met to discuss sampling methods at a site along the Hillsborough River and at offshore marine wells used to sample submarine groundwater discharge.