Advection of Karenia Brevis Blooms from the Florida Panhandle towards Mississippi Coastal Waters
Soto, I. M., Boyette, A., Broussard, K., Sheehan, D., Howden, S., Shiller, A., Dzwonkowski, B., Hode, L., Fitzpatrick, P. J., Arnone, R., Mickle, P., & Cressman, K. (2018). Advection of Karenia Brevis Blooms from the Florida Panhandle towards Mississippi Coastal Waters. 2018 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference. New Orleans, LA.
K. brevis blooms from the Florida Panhandle region are often advected westward towards the Mississippi-Alabama coast; however there is interannual variability in their presence and intensity in Mississippi coastal waters. The 2015 K. brevis bloom was compared to the 2007 Florida Panhandle K. brevis bloom, which showed a westward advection pattern, but did not intensify along the Mississippi coast. A combination of in situ cell counts, flow cytometry, and ocean color satellite imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer onboard the Aqua satellite was used to detect and delineate the blooms in 2007 and 2015. Two different regional applications of NCOM-Navy Coastal Ocean Model were used to understand the circulation and transport pathways. A Lagrangian particle tracking software was used to track the passive movement of particles released at different locations for both bloom events. Ancillary data (e.g., nutrients, wind, salinity, river discharge) from local buoys, monitoring stations and coincident oceanographic cruises were also included in the analysis. The K. brevis blooms reached the Mississippi coast both years; however, the bloom in 2007 lasted only a few days and there is no evidence that it entered the Mississippi Sound. Two major differences were observed between both years. First, circulation patterns in 2015 resulting from an intense westward-northwestward that persisted until December allowed for continuous advection, whereas this pattern was not evident in 2007. Second, local river discharge was elevated throughout late fall 2015 while 2007 was below the average. Thus, elevated discharge may have provided sufficient nutrients for bloom intensification. These results illustrate the complex, but important interactions and connectivity in coastal zones. The circulation analysis allowed to explore transport pathways for other pollutants such as oil or dispersants.