Nov 10, 2009

University of West Florida Professor Receives Grant from YSI, Inc.

Dr. Jane Caffrey’s study to analyze nutrient and continuous dissolved oxygen data

At the Coastal and Estuarine Research Foundation Conference in Portland, Ore., the University of West Florida (UWF) received a $25,000 grant from the YSI Foundation to synthesize water quality data and address issues of climate change.

Gayle Rominger, executive vice president of YSI, presented the grant to Dr. Jane Caffrey, associate professor at UWF.

“While millions of water quality-related data points are collected each year in the U.S., recent economic hardships have left many researchers and managers without the funding to analyze those data in order to make meaningful ecological interpretations,” Caffrey said. “The foundation’s goal this year was to help with this necessary task.

“With the YSI grant, we can fund a graduate student project, which will help us analyze nutrient and continuous dissolved oxygen data from five National Estuarine research reserves in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and Florida Atlantic coast to determine the rate of primary production and net ecosystem metabolism. This work will provide insights to help local and regional managers address water quality issues within their sensitive estuarine and coastal aquatic habitats.”

Eutrophication, harmful algal blooms and freshwater diversions are the main concerns in these estuaries. Caffrey’s study will compare estuary-wide and site-specific estimates of primary production, along with analysis of dissolved oxygen dynamics and factors controlling production. The time-series analyses in estuaries with 10 or more years of data will examine how these systems respond to climate variability and human-influenced stressors.

“Such information feeds directly into top management concerns in systems where nutrient load increases have led to noxious and toxic algal blooms and development of hypoxia (low oxygen), or where removal of limited supplies of fresh water threaten the normal functioning of an estuary,” said Dr. Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.