Category: Managing Water Resources and Restoration
Project Team: North Carolina Water Resources
Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center – Hampton, Virginia
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Program)
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) cause significant ecological damage to aquatic systems by blocking sunlight to submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and other organisms, and disrupting water chemistry by producing air- and waterborne toxins that negatively affect the health of fish, shellfish, and humans.åÊ In the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) North Carolina Water Science Center biologists monitor HABs by taking point samples throughout the region, but they lack a method to track the spatial extent of HABs throughout the entire area during the year. Calculations using ocean color data available from Aqua MODIS provided a method to detect the presence of chlorophyll-a as a proxy for algae on a large scale. Spatial information regarding HAB behavior over the past decade can be used to analyze the potential relationships between local activities, estuary characteristics, and seasonal patterns on HAB extent by all organizations concerned with water quality in the area.
[insert page=’vps-2015-grid’ display=’content’]