SS4.08 Global Freshwater Quality: Issues, needs and solutions
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Time: 11:30:00 AM
Location: Carson A
 
BrandLE, University of Miami, RSMAS, Miami, USA, lbrand@rsmas.miami.edu
 
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALGAL BLOOMS IN FLORIDA BAY
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For over a decade now, large algal blooms have occurred in northcentral Florida Bay where high phosphorus concentrations in the west meet high nitrogen concentrations in the east. It is hypothesized that natural phosphorite deposits may be the ultimate source of the high phosphorus observed in western Florida Bay and thus are a persistent source of phosphorus that has not changed significantly over the past few thousand years. The spatial distribution of nitrogen and its correlation with low salinity, and seasonal and yearly correlations between runoff and the algal blooms, suggest that freshwater runoff from the Everglades-agricultural system is the major source of nitrogen to Florida Bay. It is hypothesized that changes in water management practices in South Florida in the past two decades have led to an increase in nitrogen inputs to eastern Florida Bay. Mixing of this water from the east with the phosphorus-rich water from the west has led to the large algal blooms that have developed in northcentral Florida Bay, altering the entire ecosystem.