University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Department of Marine Sciences
PO Box 9000
Mayagüez, PR 00681
Cohort 1 Theme 1: Coastal Resilience Project 2: Ecosystem health towards sustainability: Development of coastal water quality and ecosystem health indicators Task: Optical Properties of complex waters in Southwestern Puerto Rico
Advisor: Roy Armstrong NOAA Mentor: Christopher Brown (NOAA/NESDIS) Expected Graduation: June 2021 Degree: Marine Sciences
Research Title: Bio-Optical Properties of Complex Waters in Southwestern Puerto Rico
Research Synopsis: Southwestern Puerto Rico coastal waters can be considered optically complex, ranging from oligotrophic (Case-1) oceanic and coastal waters to near-shore waters influenced by riverine input and bottom resuspension (Case-2). Enhanced high-resolution satellite data from the Landsat-8 OLI sensor has shown frequent occurrences of “black water” masses that could not be seen in traditional one-kilometer resolution ocean color images. The origin and possible impacts of these black water masses have not been documented for the Caribbean Region. What are the sources and composition of these water masses and what is their fate? Their impacts on water column light attenuation and as sources of nutrients may have ecological implications on coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems, the main primary producers in tropical environments.
Bi-weekly field sampling of water quality and optical parameters will be conducted at 9 stations in southwestern Puerto Rico. The sampling dates will coincide with Landsat-8 overpasses for cal/val of ocean color products and biogeochemical and bio-optical characterization of black water events. CODAR-derived surface water currents will be used for coastal circulation trajectories and fate of these events and for ecological forecasting of the possible impacts in benthic communities.
Time series analysis of precipitation and runoff will be used to assess the onset, spatial and temporal variability of the black water events. Regional algorithms for CDOM, Chl-a, TSS and Kd490 for Landsat 8/OLI, Sentinel-2/3 and VIIRS will be developed. These algorithms for southwestern Puerto Rico coastal waters will take into consideration bottom albedo effects for optically shallow waters.