ST. PETERSBURG - A glider was deployed early in March off the Atlantic coast of Florida with the mission to detect hotspots of reef fish activity in and around marine protected areas using funding provided by
NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC). Just recently, the glider was retrieved off the North Carolina coast.
For this deployment the University of South Florida’s Teledyne Webb Research Slocum Glider is equipped with two passive acoustic recording systems developed by Loggerhead Instruments and a Vemco VMT tag receiver provided by the Ocean Tracking Network at Dalhousie University. The resulting data sets will be used to augment NOAA Fisheries SEFSC and NOAA Ocean Service (NCCOS) collaborative research on reef fish spawning aggregations and will contribute to their coral reef fish monitoring programs. The glider traveled north along the continental shelf edge using the Gulf Stream to transport it until it reached South Carolina, where the glider attempted to transit onshore to about the 50m isobath. For the remainder of its mission it traversed along shore in the Edisto and North Charleston Marine Protected Areas.
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - As respiratory irritation and fish kills from the current red tide began to affect northern Pinellas County, the USF College of Marine Science deployed the robotic underwater glider “Bass” on Monday for a two week mission. Bass monitors conditions including water temperature, salinity, and oxygen and sends these data to USF each time it comes to the water’s surface. This deployment complements other efforts by USF, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Mote Marine Laboratory (MML) to observe and model the development of the red tide.
Red tides caused by the harmful algae Karenia brevis are natural and occur regularly off the west coast of Florida. Changes in circulation in the Gulf of Mexico affect bloom development, frequency, and severity. For example, circulation did not favor bloom formation in 2010 or 2013, but did favor it in the current year.
Bass was deployed on the western edge of the surface bloom and is heading offshore to deeper waters before altering course back to the coast. After the first two days, Bass has detected high levels of algae and low levels of oxygen near the bottom, indicative of red tide. Offshore mapping provides valuable information since the red tide populations are delivered to the coast via near bottom currents.
The current glider deployment will help to improve forecasts by USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides (CPR) by providing information on bloom structure below the surface where satellites cannot see. Recent CPR forecasts show slow surface water movement offshore and slow bottom water movement towards the coast over the next 3 days.
This glider deployment was made possible by an emergency response grant from NOAA and internal support by USF College of Marine Science.
During blooms, FWC provides a midweek red tide status update on Wednesdays and a full red tide status report on Fridays.
If you need immediate assistance regarding health related issues, please call the Marine and Freshwater Toxin hotline at 1-(888) 232-8635. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Please report dead or dying fish to FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline at 1-800-636-0511.
For current beach conditions including reports of respiratory irritation along Florida’s Gulf Coast, visit
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Throughout society, the use of robots for work too difficult or costly for humans has increased dramatically in recent decades. In the marine environment, one such platform, the autonomous underwater profiling glider, is tailored to efficiently collect data throughout the water column, over weeks to months while traversing hundreds to thousands of kilometers while sending valuable data back to researchers several times a day.
USF's glider fleet has been used over the past six years to monitor a wide variety of oceanographic research. From harmful algal blooms to circulation model and satellite imagery validation to grouper population monitoring and tracking tagged sharks to searching for dispersed oil during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we have hundreds of glider days collecting a suite of sensor data. One new area of potential research is the use of these robots during hurricanes.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The project will deploy a towed camera system called C-BASS (Camera-Based Survey Assessment System). Developed at the USF Center for Marine Technology, C-BASS will be deployed to determine the density, species composition and size structure of fishes using the various habitats.
"This set of studies will use state-of-the-art ocean imaging technologies to better understand and protect habitats off the west coast of Florida,” said College of Marine Science Dean Jackie Dixon."