Monitoring Network Expanded to National Marine Sanctuaries
Online Documents Aid Hurricane Planning
On May 3, 2005, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary provided vessel support for the release of seven rough tooth dolphins, survivors of the mass dolphin stranding that occurred earlier in the year off of Marathon, Florida. The dolphins were nursed back to health and then simultaneously released in 650 ft of water off Key Largo. The group immediately took off in a southerly direction against the axis of the Florida Current. Sonic tags were attached to their dorsal fins to track their movement. Several dolphins from the stranding were kept back that are not yet ready for release. For more information, contact Billy.Causey@noaa.gov.
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) developed and validated performance criteria for a new method of testing for paralytic shellfish poisoning. This new method may replace the regulatory shellfish testing method currently used worldwide and, in turn, reduce trade barriers to U.S. shellfish products. NCCOS, in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and International Atomic Energy Agency, will transfer this technology to regulatory laboratories in the U.S. and internationally. NCCOS’ results were presented to European Union seafood industry and regulatory agencies at the Association for Official Analytical Chemists Task Force Meeting on Marine and Freshwater Toxins on April 11 in Baiona, Spain for potential regulatory applications. NCCOS will lead the next phase of validating the method through an international collaborative trial. For information, contact .
On May 16, Columbia University scientists and NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, performed a tracer experiment within the upper Houston Ship Channel and the Port of Houston. A tracer is an identifiable substance that is added into the environment at a certain point to track its movement. The purpose of the experiment is to compare observed tracer concentrations with model-simulated concentrations derived from the Galveston Bay Operational Forecast System (GBOFS) hydrodynamic circulation model and to determine the time it takes for a contaminant to get flushed out of the estuary. One of NOAA's Navigation Response Team vessels released the tracer at the confluence of Patrick Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel and is tracking it for about 10 days or until concentrations near equilibrium values. The results will help to evaluate the GBOFS model and provide new insight on the flow characteristics of the estuary. The GBOFS model provides mariners, port managers and emergency response teams with present and future conditions of water levels, currents, temperature and salinity and can be used for homeland security (in the event of a purposeful spill of a poison, contaminant or chemical) and spill dispersion modeling. For more information, contact .
On May 6, 2005 NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (OCS) delivered its first comprehensive H-cell, a hydrographic data layer containing both depth soundings and feature information, for incorporation into NOAA’s Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs). H-cells are produced in the same format as ENCs but update faster and more directly. Once this process is fully implemented, NOAA expects to see significant time-savings when adding hydrographic information into the nautical charts. This effort culminates years of research and software development by OCS, the NOAA/University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center, and the CARIS digital charting software company. For more information, contact
On May 10, 2005 NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey plans to release a new version of its nowCOAST Web-mapping portal. nowCOAST is a planning aid that provides geo-referenced links to real-time meteorological, oceanographic, river, and water quality observations from federal and state networks and regional land, ocean, and Great Lakes observing systems. The new version has added new links to real-time observing networks including the Integrated Flooding Observing and Warning System; the National Interagency Remote Automated Weather System stations; Lake Champlain, Vermont mesonet (a local or regional meteorological observing network); National Weather Service’s recently automated cooperative climate stations throughout New England and New York State; and inland Automated Surface Observing System stations. The new version also includes geo-referenced links to live Web cameras in U.S. coastal states including real-time air pollution and visibility monitoring web cameras.
Based on results from a recent cruise and laboratory thermal tolerance studies, scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) believe that the inshore distribution of the invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish may be limited by winter bottom water temperatures. During an April 8-22 cruise, no lionfish were found at five reef locations at water depths of 65-105 feet, where bottom water temperatures can get as low as 8º C in winter months. The cruise and laboratory studies are part of NCCOS’ examination of the status of the invasive lionfish, the first known Pacific marine fish to become established in the Atlantic, and the potential risk of this invasion to native Atlantic communities off the coast of North Carolina. This research will help scientists forecast the potential extent of this threat through a better understanding of the factors that control the survival and spread of the lionfish. Since the summer of 2000, NCCOS researchers have documented the rapid spread of lionfish in relatively warm (greater than 15º C year-round), deep (greater than 115 feet) water reefs that are close to the Gulf Stream where the lionfish are established year-round. For more information, contact .
Revised January 11, 2013
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