In our mission to address the complex issues of environmental contamination in South Florida, the NSF CREST Center for Aquatic Chemistry and Environment (CAChE) at Florida International University features cutting-edge technology in contaminant detection, monitoring, and analysis. Central to this are our three CREST Research Buoys, which were specially-designed to be deployed in both shallow freshwater ecosystems and near-shore marine environments. Each buoy features an array of high-tech sensors used to collect data on general water quality and can be set to take measurements as frequently as every five minutes.
The buoys' water quality parameters include:
- Conductivity (for salinity)
- Dissolved oxygen
- Directional flow speed
In response to a red tide outbreak on the southeast coast of Florida, our first CREST Research Buoy was deployed at Haulover Inlet near FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus. Since October 2018, the buoy has been monitoring water quality through regular measurements: temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and chlorophyll which can help to indicate potential algal blooms. At the same time the buoy records directional flow rates, to get a sense of where potential outbreaks may be coming from and where they may be headed. All data collected is updated online every hour and is available for public viewing.