SPACE CENTER -
Red tides are a common problem in Florida and have also been reported
in waters off the Mississippi Sound. Recently, faculty and researchers
from The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Marine
Science recently partnered with scientists from other universities
and research agencies to detect and track toxic red tide organisms
in Florida's coastal waters.
Using a combination
of measurements from ships, aircraft, satellites, and underwater
vehicles, Dr. Steven E. Lohrenz, professor of marine science at
Southern Miss, along with Dr. Susanne Craig, associate research
scientist, and graduate students Megan Butterworth and James Byrum,
partnered with scientists from Rutgers, Cal Polytech, University
of South Florida and the Mote Marine Laboratory to track the Florida
red tide Nov. 3-7.
was a unique opportunity for USM students and faculty to gain first-hand
experience in the use of cutting-edge ocean technology as a means
of confronting a serious threat to the quality of our coastal waters,"
the University of South Florida's Research Vessel Suncoaster, the
Southern Miss team and collaborators carried out round-the-clock
studies using special optical sensors to track the abundance and
characteristics of the red tide species, Karenia brevis, which frequently
blooms in Florida's coastal waters.
ship operations were underway, special sensing equipment cruised
throughout the area aboard underwater glides and unmanned submersible
robots providing additional information to the scientists through
satellite and microwave communications. The red tides were also
tracked from the sky using ocean color satellites and an airborne
imaging spectrometer carried aboard a plane flown out of MacDill
Air Force Base.
marks an unprecedented step in the combined use of advanced technology
to detect and track red tide phenomena off the Florida coast. Lessons
learned from this exercise will guide future efforts to monitor
and better understand red tide blooms.
Miss Department of Marine Science is strategically located at Stennis
Space Center in Hancock County, Miss., home to the world's largest
population of oceanographers and hydrographers. The department offers
both master's and doctoral degrees in marine science and a master's
degree in hydrographic science.