Headline for Featured Item #1 Graduate Student Leads Oso Bay Water Quality Monitoring Project to Assist City - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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Graduate Student Leads Oso Bay Water Quality Monitoring Project to Assist City

June 17, 2013

Oso Bay Monitoring

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Graduate Student Lee Schroer and Research Associate Terry Palmer dove into the waters under the Oso Bay Bridge on Monday, June 17, to collect water samples which will be used to analyze the water quality of the bay. The samples were collected between Ward Island and the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

The pair replaced an underwater sonde, a cylinder-like probe that samples environmental data from the water such as temperature and salinity.

“The purpose of this project is to provide the best, most comprehensive picture of this bay that has ever been done,” said Schroer, who works in the Harte Research Institute (HRI). “The findings are important because essentially they’re going to be the preliminary and the best source of data for any projects in the future. We’re collecting the data and making it available to whoever wants to use it for scientific, recreational, and economic measures.”  

Schroer, who began collecting samples in February 2013, is also recording the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, and taking “spot checks” of nutrients, the total amount of sediment, nitrogen, and carbon in the water.  The group will collect water samples to “filter out” all the chlorophyll and determine how much plankton is in the water. Then, they will take the filtered water and analyze it for nutrient concentrations. They will determine if the nutrient levels in the water are within the state’s acceptable standards. This process is done every 10 days to ensure data accuracy. Schroer will be collecting data through March 2014.

Dr. Kevin Nelson, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, is Principal Investigator of a year-long $60,000 contract to provide data on Oso Bay to the City of Corpus Christi.

Oso Bay is a nursery ground for many species and aquatic organisms such as shrimp, black drum, and sea trout, as well as a recreational area for many fishermen. If these waters become overloaded with nutrients, there can be harmful bacteria or algal blooms that could have negative ecological consequences. For example, fish may have small concentration buildup of toxins that could potentially be unsafe for humans to consume.  

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