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In 2007, the SCCF Marine Laboratory launched the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network (RECON) project to track changes in water quality from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a fully integrated, portable, real-time water quality monitoring system. The network is composed of eight biogeochemical sensors. Seven are currently deployed at fixed locations, which include the Caloosahatchee River (Moore Haven, Ft. Myers, Shell Point), Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve (Redfish and Blind Pass), Tarpon Bay and San Carlos Bay (Gulf of Mexico). One has been configured as a "mobile" unit which is transported to specific sites as areas of interest are identified; the ninth sensor is being used to fill in for one of the seven deployed sensors as they are removed for 6-8 weeks for their annual servicing and recalibration.

The data generated from RECON are helping with research that can illuminate specific processes and related resource recon sensormanagement questions/concerns such as:
  • Alteration of light that sustains seagrass habitats
  • Rapid pulses of freshwater from run-off, low dissolved oxygen (DO) and hypoxic (low oxygen) zones make habitats unsuitable for many species, resulting in reduced biodiversity
  • High chlorophyll concentrations indicative of enhanced nutrient levels
  • Algae blooms resulting in low DO and hypoxic zones
Through the RECON website, other scientific organizations, educators, policy makers and concerned citizens can view real time or archived data and create graphical comparisons of one or more sensors.
Available data include:
  • Physical measurements including temperature, depth, salinity and turbidity from all sensor locations; water flow and direction from the Gulf of Mexico station
  • Chemical sensors including colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), nitrate, and dissolved oxygen
  • Biological measurements, particularly chlorophyll a (an indicator of productivity and algal blooms)

Click here for the RECON home page and data

Last updated 12/10/08